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Why aren’t machines harder to steal?
4:00pm Sunday 22nd July 2012 in Look Who's Talking
A NEAR neighbour rented a small digger/tractor this week which was kept overnight in a small field behind his house. During Sunday night the caterpillar-tracked vehicle was driven through his field and two larger fields which were connected by gates and then through a wire fence (which was cut for the purpose) onto a country track and then presumably loaded on to a trailer.
It is in all probability now on its way to a port where it will be shipped to a third world country. Unfortunately, the neighbour had not been informed that he had to insure the vehicle, which is worth around five thousand pounds. Having only ever hired cars before, where the insurance is taken care of at the point of hire, he had assumed that this was the case for his digger. He is now personally liable for the cost of replacing the machine.
This responsibility to insure is surely something that ought to be made abundantly clear at the time of hiring, particularly at a time when tractors and mobile industrial machinery are a prime target for marauding gangs all over the country. Only last month, members of a gang in Lincolnshire were sentenced to varying terms of imprisonment after they were convicted of stealing half a million pounds worth of farm machinery for illegal export to Iraq.
A local farmer friend has had to spend a great deal of time and money recently to protect his yard and machinery by installing motorway grade barriers around it after successive tractor thefts, when the thieves simply drove them through the surrounding hedges.
Given the value of these machines, it is surely not beyond the ingenuity of manufacturers to install systems that, say, set off banshee alarms if they are moved from where they are left by more than a few inches and which is rendered live by a device that the driver removes and takes with him?
Cars, which are usually worth much less, are much better protected now than they were and modern cars are much harder to drive away.
Another worryingly increasing phenomenon is the theft of drain and manhole covers for their metal content, which has the added element of endangering the lives of the next person or vehicle along. And the removal of cables and track on railway lines implies a level of disregard for other people’s lives that beggars belief.
It is all very depressing.
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