NFU Mutual say organised criminal gangs are scouring the countryside stealing iconic Land Rover Defenders.
Spokeswoman Rebecca Davidson said: “Land Rover Defenders continue to be a target for thieves and every week farmers and enthusiast owners are waking up to find their precious Land Rovers gone – or stripped of bonnets, doors and wings.”
She explained, “There’s a burgeoning black market for parts, with many of these beloved classics getting dismantled in driveways and farmyards, or being whisked away to chop shops.”
While at least four UK-wide Defender thefts a week were being reported to NFU Mutual in January 2020, numbers fell to six a month from April to June.
“Unfortunately, Defender thefts have risen sharply again and we are heading back up towards pre-covid levels,” said Rebecca.
“We’re warning people in the countryside to be on high alert. Trackers, alarms and storing vehicles out of sight have all been effective measures protecting these British icons.”
First launched in 1948, Land Rovers have become a prized classic vehicle owner’s choice, as well as still being used every day on farms across the country.
NFU Mutual’s top tips for securing classic Land Rover Defenders:
Keep the vehicle locked at all times when not in use
Fit an accredited alarm for security and tracking device to locate your vehicle if stolen
Fit a mechanical immobiliser such as a steering wheel or pedal lock
Thieves will target component parts so consider marking them using a forensic marking solution or system
Keep it in a lockable building or park in well-lit areas, which are overlooked
Have the vehicle identification number etched on windows
Consider fitting a hidden battery isolation or a fuel cut-off switch
Take photographs of unusual features, modifications, damage or repairs which could aid identification if stolen
Ensure any valuables are removed from the vehicle
Don’t share information on social media which could indicate where Land Rovers are kept