Sergeant New Holland - badge number T6050 – will be reporting for duty at more than twenty agricultural shows around Northern Ireland this summer.
The latest recruit of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has been patrolling the shows to focus attention on their latest campaign to reduce farm theft in the region.
The tractor, which is owned by Burkes of Cornascriebe, is on loan until the early autumn – and Burkes has allowed the PSNI to have it liveried exactly like a police car, complete with a police roof bar (with flashing blue lights) on top.
The body of the tractor has been foil wrapped in white, then embellished with chequered blue and yellow and the police crest.
And it seems Sergeant New Holland has caused quite a stir. Conor Johnston from the PSNI says the tractor’s been a great attraction:
“At the Balmoral show – the largest agricultural show in Northern Ireland - there were queues of people waiting to have a look at the tractor. It really did stir up a lot of interest for our campaign to reduce rural and agricultural crime. We’re really grateful to Burkes of Cornascriebe for lending it to us – and helping us move it from show to show.”
The PSNI are very keen to get the important messages of basic crime prevention and personal responsibility across: It’s estimated that agricultural crime accounted for 4% of all crime during 2011 – and, according to the NFU Mutual, is costing the agricultural sector nearly £4 million a year, which is why the police are working hard to try and tackle this important issue. New Holland’s Sales Area Manager Brian Magee agrees it’s a big problem for farmers:
“Rural and agricultural crime is on the increase; tractors and quad bikes are being stolen and they’re very hard to recover. That’s why Burkes decided to give the police some support.”
To help reduce the likelihood of farm vehicle theft, the police suggest the following measures:
• Remove keys and secure unattended tractors and other vehicles
• Fit CESAR marking systems and immobilizers to valuable tractors
• Use security lights in yards and drives
• Have the registration number etched on vehicle windows
• Consider tracking devices for expensive vehicles
• Record machinery serial numbers
• Be vigilant – lock all gates where possible