Lock up your ‘Landies’ plea as thefts rise

Leading rural insurer, NFU Mutual, is urging farmers and enthusiast owners to increase security measures as organised criminal gangs are scouring the countryside stealing iconic Land Rover Defenders.

Rebecca Davidson, NFU Mutual Rural Affairs Specialist, said: “Land Rover Defenders (PICTURED) 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 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.”

The insurer reveals that its claims costs for theft of Defenders rose 34% to £2.1m in 2019 - three years after the last traditional Defender rolled off the Solihull production line.

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.

Rebecca Davidson, NFU Mutual Rural Affairs Specialist, said: “With prices of Series I models soaring due to their vintage value, organised criminals are scouring farmyards and country properties to spot examples they can steal.”

NFU Mutual, which has insured thousands of Land Rover Defenders from the days when the first Series I models appeared in the nation’s fields, is advising owners to use a combination of physical security and sophisticated electronic measures to protect their precious vehicles.

The insurer also works closely with the National Vehicle Intelligence Service (NaVCIS), to help track down thieves and return stolen vehicles to their owners.

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 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

* Don’t share information on social media which could indicate where Land Rovers are kept

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