Police have issued an alert to farmers following the theft of a quad bike from a West Dorset farm last night.

The warning to 'take immediate action now' comes as the number of thefts of ATVs and UTVs rises to 14 this year in Dorset.

The rural crime team is advising farmers to make sure their vehicles are secure.

Dorset Police Rural Crime Team has issued advice, recommending that "the ideal security solution is to secure your ATV and UTV with different layers of security."

They advise the following measures:

• Keep your vehicle in a lockable garage or building and make sure you remove the keys and keep them in a secure location and out of view, not hidden on the vehicle and out of view of any windows.

• Cover any windows to the building where your vehicle is kept this will prevent any persons looking through the windows.

• Consider installing security lighting and CCTV with sensors and PIR Alarms on the perimeter of the building or premises.

• Physically secure your machine using suitable locking devices and fixed ground anchors secured to the floor using heavy duty security chains and padlocks.

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• Get your machine marked with security marking scheme such as Datatag or CESAR. Certain insurance companies will often offer a discount to premiums with these types of measures. Most dealers will offer this when you purchase a new quad as an extra if it’s not already fitted at the factory as standard, if they don’t please ask for the bike to be fitted with it. If you purchase a second-hand vehicle that isn’t fitted with it please ask the dealer to fit it. Since CESAR was brought in in 2007 it has contributed to a 60 per cent decline in thefts. Recently during a Rural Crime Team recovery of a Polaris UTV the only way to have verified that the vehicle was stolen was by this system.

• Use a grip lock that locks the brakes on the machine to prevent it being moved without removal.

• Consider fitting immobilisers, VHF, GPS Tracking devices and consider isolating systems to machines that will prevent theft such as fuel and battery isolators.

• Record machinery serial numbers and take photographs for reference. If the machine is ever stolen a photo will increase publicity prospects and recovery of the machine.

• Report suspicious vehicles or callers to police by calling 999 if the vehicle or occupants are seen committing crime or phone 101 or email 101@dorset.pnn.police.uk if the vehicle or people are just seen acting suspiciously.

To find out more information of what’s available, or to arrange a socially distanced, bespoke crime prevention visit to your farm or rural premises by an experienced member of the Rural Crime Team, email the team directly at ruralcrimeteam@dorset.pnn.police.uk or call 101 and ask to speak to Rural Crime Team’s PCSO 6386 Tom Balchin.