SHOCKING figures reveal more quad bikes were stolen in Cumbria last year than anywhere else in the country.

The county saw 34 quad thefts last year, with many more, it was claimed, going unreported.

NFU Mutual said the surge in quad and ATV thefts was fuelled by determined criminal gangs cashing in the high demand.

"We know each and every one of those incidents in Cumbria would have had a huge impact on the victim and disrupted their farming.

As I said, there could be more for the county but this is the total reported to us," said Rebecca Davison, Rural Affairs Specialist with NFU Mutual.

The leading rural insurer’s theft claims data has revealed that although quad theft fell initially over the pandemic, determined criminal gangs are ramping up their efforts with almost half the quad and ATV thefts reported to NFU Mutual in 2021 taking place from September to December.

Now farming communities in the county have been advised to beef up security to deter rural thieves after it was revealed there is a shortage in new and second-hand farm machinery.

Global supply chain problems, shipping delays and the impact of Covid and Brexit have contributed to waiting lists for new quads and increased demand for second-hand kit, the rural insurer said.

According to NFU Mutual statistics, the most targeted counties in the UK for quad theft last year were Cumbria, followed by Kent, West Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Leicestershire.

Bob Henderson, from the Agricultural Engineering Team at NFU Mutual, said: “The thieves behind this latest surge in quad theft are slicker, more determined and more prolific than before.

"We cannot emphasise enough the importance of removing keys from machines and securing your quad when it’s not in use.

“Quads are absolutely vital to livestock farmers particularly as we get into peak lambing season, and the thefts we are seeing are hitting farmers twice as hard because of the difficulties getting replacement kit.

“Sadly, we have found that thieves will also return to a farm where they have stolen a quad in the hope of being able to steal its new replacement.

"That’s why we’re working on the scheme with manufacturers Honda and Yamaha with Datatool to install free tracking devices and immobilisers to protect our customers from repeat crime.”