Land Rover Defender thefts increase as vehicles acquire iconic classic status

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Leading rural insurer, NFU Mutual, is urging owners of Land Rover Defenders to increase security measures and be vigilant to thieves to reduce the risk of their vehicles, or parts of their vehicles, being stolen.

Latest figures from the insurer reveal that claims costs for theft of Defender vehicles rose to £2.1 million in 2016, an increase of 17% since 2015.

The region with the highest cost of Land Rover Defender thefts last year was the North East, followed by the South East, the Midlands and the South West.

The worst affected counties were West Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Kent, Somerset and Lancashire.

This comes as the last of the Land Rover Defenders rolled off the production line in January last year.

Clive Harris, agricultural vehicle specialist at NFU Mutual, said: “The Defender is no longer in production which has prompted a greater demand, making them a bigger target for thieves.

“I urge Land Rover Defender owners to be vigilant and be on their guard. Owners should ensure they have adequate security measures in place and consider fitting an after-market approved immobiliser and a tracking device if possible.

“When not in use Defenders should be parked in a garage or a secure area which is well lit if possible. Never leave keys in the ignition and keep keys out of sight at home and when out in public areas; it’s essential that easy opportunities are taken away from thieves.”

NFU Mutual’s top tips for securing your Land Rover Defender:

Fit a mechanical immobiliser such as a Thatcham approved steering or pedal lock

Fit an alarm for added security and consider adding a tracking device

Thieves will target component parts so consider marking them using a forensic marking solution or system

Keep the vehicle 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, including satnavs

NFU Mutual regional breakdown of Land Rover Defender claims:

2015 cost

North East

£801,130

North West

£222,260

Wales

£49,190

Scotland

£54,350

South East

£175,700

South West

£141,710

Midlands

£246,290

Northern Ireland

£5,610

East

£121,430

East

£121,430

Grand Total

£1,817,670

2016 cost

North East

£722,630

North West

£211,930

Wales

£55,330

Scotland

£48,430

South East

£354,390

South West

£289,530

Midlands

£266,920

Northern Ireland

£5,600

East

£179,270

Grand Total

£2,134,030