Two men have been arrested on suspicion of trying to steal quad bikes from a rural North Yorkshire farm – and told to stay out of the county.
A vigilant farmer spotted suspicious activity on his land yesterday morning (Monday 29 June).
He followed the two suspects into nearby fields, while another family member called the police just before 7.20am.
Officers, including a police dog, attended immediately, arriving within 15 minutes – and arrested two Hartlepool men, aged 24 and 17.
The 24-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of theft of a motor vehicle and burglary.
Gloves, a spanner and a knife were seized from the 17-year-old suspect. He was arrested on suspicion of theft of a motor vehicle, burglary, going equipped for theft and possessing an offensive weapon in a public place.
On examining the scene – a farm north of Northallerton – it was established that a secure garage had been broken into, and tools and two quad bikes removed.
The quad bikes, both Honda vehicles with unique agricultural attachments, were located nearby.
Unfortunately they had been damaged, and may cost hundreds of pounds to repair, North Yorkshire Police said.
Both suspects were taken into custody and interviewed. They were released on bail while police enquiries continue.
Both have been given bail conditions not to enter North Yorkshire for any reason, other than answering bail.
Inspector Matt Hagen, of North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Taskforce, said: “Quite apart from its monetary value, the loss of a quad can have a significant impact on a farm – particularly in these difficult times, when farmers really cannot afford any further disruption.
“Police patrols in rural areas have not stopped, so if you see or hear anything suspicious, don’t hesitate to call us."
It comes amid an increase in Scottish farmers using tracking security devices on farm machinery to stamp out rural thefts.
Last year, trackers helped the Police Scotland recover stolen tractors and quad bikes worth £893,000.
How can I better secure machinery?
Rural insurer NFU Mutual has provided tips for farmers to secure farm vehicles:
• Remove keys from tractors, quads and loaders when they are not in use and keep them locked in a secure building.
• Keep your machine locked up and out of sight. Thieves often stake out a farm before they raid, so where possible store machinery in a locked building or where it can’t be seen from the road
• Use the CESAR marking and registration system. Markings make your property less attractive to criminals and can help recover your belongings if they are stolen
• Install immobilisers and trackers on tractors, loaders and quads. Thieves can’t take what they can’t start and won’t want to be found if they make off with your property
• Know what you own. Take pictures of your vehicle and record serial numbers
• Join a local rural watch group linked to SPARC and report any sightings of suspicious activity