Farmers are being urged to make sure they apply for tax for their tractors in a bid to ensure they haven’t bought stolen property.
The call comes from the wife of a Co Down farmer, who is now almost £7,000 out of pocket after he discovered the tractor he owned for seven years was in fact stolen.
The woman, who asked not to be named, said that they hadn’t realised they needed to tax their tractor and if they had done so when they purchased the vehicle it would have flagged up as being stolen.
She explained: “We bought the Case tractor from a dealer seven years ago who had bought it in England and we gave £12,000-£13,000 for it.
“We didn’t tax the tractor for the seven years we owned it because it was just being used on the farm and we didn’t know that we needed to tax it. It was insured, but it was never on the road.
“Two or three months ago we sold the tractor to a dealer for almost £7,000. He came back to us four or five weeks later when it was discovered that the tractor had been stolen.
“The police became involved and they said that the tractor belonged to the Farmers’ Union who had paid out on the insurance when the tractor was stolen,” the woman said.
Her husband decided to give back the £6,800 he had received for the tractor, but now he is out of pocket having bought another tractor at around £30,000.
The woman added: “I just want other farmers to be aware that they need to tax their tractors and this will show up if it has been stolen. We have been told that there is now a central register which gives details of tractors, but this wasn’t available when we were buying this tractor seven years ago.
“We have discovered that this tractor moved about 13 times before we bought it. I know £7,000 is not a lot of money but it’s a big enough amount when your are working with a small farm. We are now facing the loss of this money and it makes the new tractor which we have bought even more expensive.
“A lot of people around us that I have spoken to, weren’t aware either that you have to tax your tractor so this is why I want the issue highlighted to warn others,” she added.
Tractors are exempt from tax, but you still need to apply for it.