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Rural Land Rover Defender thefts surge

There was concerning news for many in the countryside this on Monday, as Avon & Somerset Constabulary announced via their rural crime team that the last 2 months had seen a huge increase in Land Rover Defender thefts from farm properties. The BBC reported that 25 Defenders had been stolen in the last year in this area alone, with the increased reports since January confirmed by rural insurers NFU Mutual.

A Design Classic

Originally entering production in 1948, the Defender was originally designed as a British equivalent to the popular American Jeep. The sturdy vehicle is a stalwart of the British countryside, with it’s versatility and durability proving indispensable for farmers or people living in remote properties, as well as proving it’s worth as a military vehicle for the British armed forces in theatres around the globe. Such is the prestige of the car that it has often been seen driven around the grounds of Balmoral by none other than Her Majesty. This cult following meant the car- in it’s various iterations- had been in production for 67 years before Land Rover announced it’s discontinuation at the end of last year.

Land Rover front grill
image via

Stolen To Order

With such an iconic status then, it was perhaps no surprise that demand surged as soon as the last model rolled off the production line in their Solihull assembly plant. In particular, prices for spare parts- frequently required by Land Rover owners- on auction sites skyrocketed straight away. In the wake of the police announcement owners have pointed out that many vehicles will now be worth significantly more when stripped down for parts than as a complete car. Despite this, police have suggested this is not the only factor driving the recent surge. PC Katie Drabble from Avon & Somerset Police told the BBC “…we’ve definitely seen and increase in theft. Not just for the parts but for the actual vehicle, because they’re stolen to order and then exported out of the country”. It is not known where most of the cars are then exported to, but some have suggested there is a strong black market in Eastern Europe for the vehicles.

Defensive Measures?

So, with the cars in such high demand, what is the best way to keep yours safe? Luckily there are some basic security measures you can take to help prevent becoming a victim-

  • Don’t leave keys in the car! Whilst this may sound obvious, Land Rovers are often used on farms and other similar properties where several drivers will use it to jump in and drive between buildings. In this situation it’s all too easy to let security slide and leave the car ready for anyone to drive away.
  • Invest in security lighting. Parking the car in a well lit area is a huge disincentive to thieves, who by and large want to be as discreet as possible. You can even get CCTV cameras with built in security lights to illuminate their area of coverage.
  • Don’t rely on in-car cameras. We are often asked by customers concerned about car crime to recommend a covert camera they can leave inside the vehicle. Our answer is always the same- Don’t do it! Covert in-car cameras will present no visual deterrent to vandals, and if the car is stolen then you lose the camera, along with all of its evidence.
  • Use high resolution CCTV. If you want to set up a security camera system, then you ideally want something with HD resolution that can pick up as much detail as possible from intruders. One of the best options would be an ANPR CCTV system, that uses video analytics to automatically capture the number plate of any vehicles that drive past, perfect for setting up at the entrance to your property.
Hikvision ANPR system
Our ANPR CCTV system is ideal for securing the driveway to a property
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