DETERMINED rural thieves are targeting expensive quad bikes used by farmers to tend to livestock during the lambing season, latest NFU Mutual claim figures reveal.

The leading rural insurer’s theft claims data for 2020 reveals that while the number of quads stolen fell in 2020, thieves are increasingly targeting more expensive, higher specification models.

Farm thieves are also stealing more all-terrain (ATV), larger off-road vehicles. These machines, which often seat two people side-by side and have a load space at the back, can cost two or three times as much as a quad bike. These vehicles now represent 14 per cent of all quad and ATV thefts, compared to 11 per cent in 2019.

To help farmers protect their quads from increasingly sophisticated thieves, NFU Mutual is providing updated security advice. It is also launching a pilot scheme with manufacturers starting with Yamaha and Honda to provide customers with free tracking and immobilisation equipment on vehicles bought to replace stolen quads and ATVS, following a paid claim.

Bob Henderson, technical engineering manager at NFU Mutual, said: “Rural thieves target quads and other farm all-terrain vehicles because they’re expensive kit with a ready resale market.”