There’s a variety of things you can do to protect your property, land and livestock:-
Equipment and tool security
Estate and building security
Equipment and tool security
Equipment and tool security can be a particular issue for rural businesses and farms.
To keep your belongings safe:
lock equipment away in a secure building or part of a building when not in use
invest in a secure storage toolbox
install a burglar alarm on buildings where equipment is kept
always lock vehicles when left outside and keep the keys in your possession
keep expensive items and vehicles out of sight when not in use
consider using hitch locks, wheel clamps or ground anchors
mark your tools and equipment and register them
keep a record of all valuable items
consider fitting outside security lights
For further information on securing your belongings and how to mark your equipment, visit our burglary advice pages. https://www.thamesvalley.police.uk/cp/crime-prevention/protect-home-crime/
Estate and building security
A good standard of building security is very important in rural areas, especially for outbuildings that may not be visited for weeks at a time.
Farmhouses and other rural properties are the same as any other home, so general home security advice still applies. However, because of the remote location, additional security measures may be beneficial.
To protect your rural home or business:
keep the boundaries of your land and property well-maintained and secure
keep all doors and windows shut and locked when not in use
install a visible burglar alarm
make sure windows and door frames are secure and in good repair
fit strong locks to sheds, garages and outbuildings
fit good quality window locks
consider security bars and grilles for vulnerable windows and openings
make sure gates cannot be lifted off or have their fixing bolts removed
check security equipment regularly to ensure it works properly
use locking posts or temporary obstructions to control wide access points to yards
For additional security you could also:
install automatic security lights that come on at dusk and turn off at dawn
install CCTV cameras to watch over the most vulnerable areas of the property
install a monitored intruder alarm system
install an entry control system infrared, intercom or keypad
establish a single gated entrance and exit, removing all private access points that are not in use
Take a good look around your property boundary for any potential places where it could be made more secure.
planting thorny hedging to act as a natural barrier
digging deep ditches to control and deter unwanted vehicle access
if possible, having a single-gated access point to the property
using locking posts or temporary obstructions to control large openings
invert and cap gate hinges
making sure fixing bolts are secure and use covered padlocks
installing warning signs
Electric fences can be an easy target for thieves as they're often in remote locations away from the farm or stable.
Thieves steal them for scrap value, or offer them on second-hand markets without operating instructions.
To protect your fence and energiser, you could:
visibly mark your equipment in a number of places as a deterrent, reducing its value and making it harder to sell on if stolen
photograph the unit and record the make, model and serial number, to help the police if it's stolen
attach your energiser to a sturdy fixed point or secure it in a purpose-made storage container
hide or camouflage your energiser behind a fence or tree, in a hedge or in undergrowth
attach a small tracker to the energiser
cover the power light with tape
Stolen energisers are often sold on without instructions or packaging. If you see an item like this, and you're suspicious about how it's become available, please report it online. https://www.thamesvalley.police.uk/ro/report/ocr/af/how-to-report-a-crime/
dispose of refuse regularly and safely
remove hay and straw from fields as soon as possible after harvesting and do not store it alongside other materials/vehicles
store petrol, diesel and other fuels in secure areas and always padlock storage tank outlets
seek further advice from your local fire service
All incidents of illegal activity should be reported to the appropriate authority as soon as possible. If you are able to, make a note of any vehicle details and a description of the people involved.
Always consider your own personal safety first before approaching anyone you think might be doing something illegal.
As a landowner it’s your responsibility to protect your land from unauthorised occupation. Making sure your premises and boundaries are secure will greatly reduce the risk of unauthorised occupation.
To help protect your land you could:
look closely at the perimeter to ensure it is as secure as possible
consider using large tree trunks, rocks, ditching and earth mounds around boundaries to prevent access
restrict vehicle access by digging deep ditches
keep unused land maintained and free from litter and other waste
If your land does become illegally occupied, you can take proceedings to the county court to obtain a court order for the eviction of illegal occupants. Occupants who fail to comply with this notice by leaving the land as soon as reasonably possible are committing an offence.
For more information about environment crime, such as fly tipping and illegal off-roading read our environment crime page. https://www.thamesvalley.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/ec/environment-crime/
Diesel theft is a problem for many farms and rural properties. Fuel tanks stored in rural and isolated locations are very attractive to thieves looking for an easy target.
keep tanks stored close to the property where you can see them. If this isn’t possible, you should consider installing CCTV to watch over isolated tanks and restrict access with walls, fences and hedges. Security lighting such as ‘dusk till dawn’ or motion detection lighting can also be an effective deterrent to thieves
remember to check the oil level in your tank regularly. Look for any spilt fuel, marks on the locks or anything else suspicious
avoid installing a storage tank in an isolated area or outlying building
consider using a mobile bowser (tanker) kept in a secure place when not in use
use ‘diesel dye’, making your diesel traceable and less attractive to thieves
You should check your livestock and the security of boundary fencing regularly. If they're making more noise than usual this could mean something has disturbed them.
make regular checks of the fields where animals are kept to check that fences haven’t been breached and that no one else is in the field with them
use ear tags, horn brands, freeze marking or tattooing to make your animals more easily identifiable
keep your hedges, fences and gates in good repair: field gate hinges should have capping hinges so they can't be removed easily; cattle grids should be removable and locked out of position when they're not in use; use locking posts to obstruct large openings to yards
consider installing CCTV
Always report any suspicious activity involving livestock to the police.
secure tack room windows on the inside with solid iron bars (not tubular steel)
secure all doors with good quality locks; use bolts (not screws) on the hinges
mark your tack using an ultraviolet pen
display warning signage to deter thieves
padlock gates with substantial padlocks and heavy duty chains
reverse top hinges on gates to prevent lifting
install security lights and an intruder alarm
store fertilisers in a dedicated locked building or compound – don't leave them on public view
don't sell fertiliser unless you know the potential purchaser to be a legitimate user
record all deliveries and usage and carry out regular stock taking
record manufacturers’ code numbers and detonation resistance test certificates – you may be required to present them
always report a stock discrepancy or loss immediately
The Health and Safety Executive can provide further advice on storage/transportation of fertilisers, particularly ammonium nitrate. https://www.hse.gov.uk/
Please consider using our online reporting system but please note this reporting tool is not for use where a crime happening right now, the suspect is still at the scene, or anyone seriously injured or in immediate danger.