I know, from speaking with local residents, that agricultural equipment theft really affects farmers and people who work on farms locally. That is why I have been supporting the Equipment theft (Prevention) Bill and following closely its passage through parliament.
When the Bill was presented, it was focused on measures preventing the theft of certain agricultural equipment. I spoke in the Chamber in support of the Bill, relating the story of a farmer, local to Shepshed, who was targeted, having had £2,000-worth of GPS equipment stolen from a tractor. He highlighted to me that it is a common occurrence in the farming community and that he had already taken extensive security measures on the farm, which cost a great deal of money. However, despite their efforts and expenditure, thefts still took place.
While agricultural equipment theft is a significant problem and the Bill will certainly go a way to reducing the impact of that on farmers in Loughborough, I understand that the problem is, sadly, wider than just agricultural equipment.
In 2018, a national campaign was launched by a local resident called ‘noVANber’. This drew attention to the shocking reality of how the theft of tools from vans harms tradespeople and their businesses in our local community. The campaign cited statistics such as ‘51% of UK builders have been victims of tool or van theft’.
This is why I called for the Bill to be expanded to include measures to prevent the theft for all types of trade equipment, including tool theft from vans, in the hope it will stop farmers and tradespeople in our local area and throughout the country being targeted for theft of their equipment. I followed the Bill to the committee stage where I was pleased to see that the Minister took the issue seriously and is taking it further.
The Government is currently holding a call for evidence to gather information and opinions on widening the scope of this legislation to include other types of farm machinery and also the high value tools of tradespeople, just as the noVANber campaign called for. If you would like to contribute to this call for evidence, please do let me have the details, or get in contact so I can send you more information.
Should you like my assistance with another matter, please get in touch with me by post, telephone, or email.
Jane Hunt MP