Crime is becoming an increasingly difficult problem for farms and rural businesses to contend with. NFU’s Rural Crime Report 2020 found that in 2019, rural crime cost the UK £54 million, increasing by nine per cent compared to the previous year. Of this, £9.3 million is attributed to farm vehicle theft.
Meanwhile, in July 2021, a new specialist police unit was created to combat the growing number of organised gangs stealing farm and construction machinery. The Agricultural and Construction Equipment (ACE) unit has been set up to monitor and prevent crime, share intelligence, and provide farmers with the assurance that their work can be completed without disruption during their limited seasonal windows.
But what more can be done to prevent the UK’s rising farm theft problem? A surprising solution comes in the form of storage containers. While they have been common in preventing theft of equipment in many industries, including construction and maintenance, how can a storage container protect farming assets? Here, we explore how storage containers could be a farmer’s best bet.
Sturdy, solid, and mobile
Shipping containers are naturally protective. Created from corrugated steel, their solid frame makes them a strong adversary to criminals setting out to steal your machinery. Instead of simply locking your vehicles, machinery can be stored in a type of temporary garage – not only concealing the type of equipment stored but also barraging them against thieves.
Visibility alone can be a deterrent for thieves, who understand that the chance of being caught is a risk worth taking only if they know what they are stealing. With additional locks and security equipment, such as padlocks and alarms, storage containers deter the probability of thieves even more.
The added benefit of storage containers is their mobility. With the right equipment, storage containers can be moved easily to any location on your land. This means that equipment can be stored closer to home or can be kept near to where it is being used, adding protection on top of convenience. There’s no need to build permanent structures, and your safety storage can be moved seasonally.
A rural working space
Not all of a farmer’s work is on the field. Rural businesses can also contend with some bureaucracy and office work now and then. However, being away from your land can leave you open to theft or damage. Your presence alone can be a deterrent.
In this sense, using a storage container as a working space on your land can be a viable solution to reducing the potential for crime. A kitted-out container can be provided with electricity, heating, and be comfortable and spacious. Like a container used to secure equipment, your mobile office space can be moved to where you want. Who wouldn’t want to work and stare out across pastures green?
A mobile office space on your land can also be fitted with surveillance cameras, allowing additional footage of your land in case a crime is committed. However, by being present on your land, organising the business side of your affairs, you can send a signal to budding thieves that the land is watched and protected.
Protecting yourself and others
Of course, it’s not just machinery that is targeted by thieves on farms. Chemicals are also targeted by criminal gangs. While containers can help prevent their theft through secure storage, there is an added benefit of storing chemicals away from reach.
Chemicals such as pesticides and fertiliser can be dangerous for yourself, the public, and the environment when not stored correctly. Such chemicals can cause contamination, accidental fires, and the destruction of habitats and wildlife in some circumstances.
By storing chemicals in a storage container, you prevent theft and also limit the possibility of the public or wildlife endangering themselves. Even more, the mobility and security of a container mean that these chemicals can be stored away from living spaces, adding further safety assurances for your family.
The cost of crime for rural businesses is devastating. However, the investment of a storage container to secure equipment and chemicals can help protect your assets, family, the public, and the environment. With multiple uses, including as office space, storage containers are proving themselves to be an essential product for farmers and those who work in remote locations.