Keeping your farm secure

On your farm you may have valuable livestock, expensive equipment and vehicles. There are some simple things you can do to increase security on your farm, making it harder for thieves to get access to your land, livestock and equipment.

Keeping your house and farm secure

To keep your house and farm secure, there are some general things you can do:

  • invest in good locks for doors and windows
  • be aware of people or vehicles coming and going and report any suspicious activity to the police
  • keep a register with photographs and descriptions of animals, tools, equipment, vehicles and any other valuables
  • contact the Police Service for Northern Ireland (call 101) or your local Police and Community Safety Partnership (PCSPs) for crime prevention advice
  • find out if a Farm Watch scheme or a Rural Text Alert scheme, operates in your area

To read more about keeping your farm house secure, go to:

Security around the farm

Farms can cover large areas of land and it can be difficult to make them completely secure. There are things you can do to make your farm more secure:

  • check fencing, hedges and walls regularly - they should be robust and well maintained
  • restrict access to your yard with locked gates and security barriers - the fewer ways in the better
  • fit alarms to storage sheds and other buildings
  • consider installing a CCTV system to your yard, sheds and any other vulnerable areas
  • invest in good lighting for your farmyard

You can use two levels of lighting, a working level and a lower security level. Using low energy lighting will keep the cost down.

Technology, like point-to-point electronic beams, can help to protect your property. Technology adds to good security and vigilance but doesn't replace it.

Keeping livestock secure

Livestock can be at risk from thieves, especially if they graze far from your main yard and buildings. You should:

  • regularly check fields with livestock
  • keep hedges, fences and gates in good repair
  • keep sheds and stockyard gates closed and locked
  • always tag your livestock 
  • take photographs or videos of valuable animals with the brand and/or ear tags clearly visible
  • keep a recent and accurate record of all your livestock  

Livestock identification is essential for proof of ownership and it can help to deter thieves. Tagging can include ear tags, earmarks, tattooing, freeze branding or microchips (electronic identification).

Preventing metal theft

Copper and lead are valuable metals and are often targeted by thieves. Metal around your farm such as gates, tools, machine parts, and cabling could be at risk. You should:

  • remove or delay fitting metal such as copper tanks and copper pipes if your farmhouse or farm buildings are going to be empty
  • mark metal with tamper-proof stickers, UV spray or grease - use your postcode and house number
  • use warning signs on vacant properties that metal has been marked or removed
  • consider using anti-climb paint with a warning to say it has been used
  • consider using artificial lead - it is worth less and is easier to replace if stolen
  • consider installing permanent or temporary CCTV

Keeping tools and equipment secure

Hand-tools, generators and smaller items can be easily stolen. You should:

  • lock away tools and equipment not in use
  • mark tools and equipment with your house number and postcode or your Business Identifier number

Keeping vehicles and machinery safe

Farm vehicles and machinery are probably the most expensive equipment on your farm. You should:

  • secure or immobilise vehicles, plant, trailers and machinery when not in use
  • remove machinery and vehicles from fields overnight
  • keep valuable vehicles and machinery in a securely locked shed
  • always mark your vehicles with your house number and postcode or your Business Identifier number
  • always remove keys from parked vehicles
  • consider fitting an electronic vehicle marking system or tracking device

Where to get help

If you've had something stolen or damaged on your property, contact the police:

  • telephone 101


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