FARMERS and tractor dealerships have been warned to remain vigilant following an increase in thefts of costly equipment.

Rob Taylor, manager of North Wales Police's rural crime team, said the UK has seen a "massive surge" in thefts of tractor GPS trackers.

He said while North Wales has seen comparatively fewer cases than areas such as Cheshire and Lancashire, he is urging caution to dealerships and farmers across the region. "These trackers cost a lot of money and it is becoming a huge problem across the UK - we're seeing a massive surge," he said.

"Be vigilant. if you get cold callers, get their registration number and if you have cctv try and get a picture of them if it is safe.

"Usually these people case the place first and then come back later. "Farmers do report suspect people on their farms but sometimes have no details about the people.

"It would make things easier and potentially prevent crime if we can have information about those people."

The Farmers' Union of Wales reiterated the message following a warning from South Wales Police earlier this year.

A spokesman said: "It is believed that farms are being targeted and the devices are being exported and sold via various auction platforms worldwide.

"Fully licensed, these systems can cost upwards of £20,000, all carry unique serial numbers which can be checked with manufacturers."

FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “We urge members across the county and indeed Wales to be extra vigilant.

"If you are using these systems on your farm, take some crime prevention action by photographing all items relevant to the system including a close up of the serial numbers and mark them up with your surname, farm name, post code etc.

"Any removable parts should be removed from agricultural machinery and locked away safely each night and not left on the tractors. The advice is for such items to be stored in a safe place within the main property.”