LEADING rural insurer NFU Mutual has joined forces with police and agricultural machinery manufacturers to tackle a surge in thefts of expensive guidance systems.

Across Europe, thefts of tractor GPS systems have surged as criminals target the expensive guidance systems now extensively used to guide farm machinery. Many of the stolen systems are John Deere StarFire receivers and cab display units, but other systems are increasingly being stolen.

In the UK, thefts have spread from East Anglia, where they first became commonplace, and police and insurers are now dealing with thefts all across the country.

In recent weeks, thefts from farms and machinery dealers are being reported almost every day.To help stamp out the crime wave, farmers in Cumbria are among those being urged to rigorously check that any GPS kit offered for sale outside dealer networks has not been stolen.