Farmers being targeted by thieves

WORRIED farmers in Derbyshire are increasingly being targeted by thieves stealing equipment and produce from their land.

Figures from the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) suggest the number of thefts from farms in the county went up by two-thirds last year.

One farmer who was targeted was Bill Dilks, who runs Hollyhouse dairy farm in Shottle.

About a year ago he had a tractor and some bales of straw stolen from his farm. The tractor was worth £28,000.

He said the tractor, which was one of four, was left locked, but in the open, after he had worked late one night. The next morning the tractor was gone.

Bill, 67, said: “For a smaller farm, something like that could really hurt them.”

The NFU figures suggest that across Derbyshire and the Midlands, the number of thefts of farming equipment rose by 61 per cent in 2010. Across the whole of the country the number went up by 13 per cent.

The union said the most common items stolen from farms were quad bikes, Land Rovers and tools.

Mr Dilks said: “It is a growing problem. We are an easy target because there are a lot of things we have to leave out in the open, and the land is big and difficult to secure.”