Improving farm security – and combatting rural crime
The Expanded Metal Company’s Paul Green looks at the security challenges facing rural businesses – and explores the role of expanded metal mesh in protecting farms and other agricultural sites from crime.
According to a recent survey by Farmers Weekly, the farming community is being hit hard by rural crime.
The survey, which was published in April 2019, found that nine out of 10 respondents were affected by rural crime on their farm at least once a year, with 41% suffering at least once a month.
The majority of respondents (82%) surveyed said that they believed that rural crime had gone up in the last 12 months.
It’s a worrying trend – and according to the latest data from the NFU, rural crime cost the UK £44.5 million in 2017.
In the past a crime in the agricultural community consisted mainly of sheep rustling or theft of diesel from farming machinery such as tractors. Nowadays recorded incidences are much more varied and some criminals will see property situated in remote geographical areas as easy and lucrative pickings.
This has become more prevalent recently as old-fashioned labour has been replaced by sophisticated and expensive machinery and tools.
Indeed, the Farmers Weekly survey indicated that the theft of machinery from farms showed no sign of abating – with high value tractors and telehandlers regularly stolen, and diggers and forklifts even taken by thieves so they can commit further crimes – for instance to rip out cash machines from walls.
The NFU reports that in 2017, the cost of agricultural vehicle thefts reached £5.9 million. And as tractor security has improved through methods such as tracking devices, quad bikes have become an increasingly common target.
So what is being done to improve farm security and prevent rural crime?
A key challenge is now how to protect farm machinery and tools in an adequate and economical way given the fact that they are usually housed in ageing properties that were not designed with robust security in mind.
CCTV and alarm systems can assist with crime prevention, but these solutions rely on a rapid reaction when a crime is detected or in progress. This can be difficult when the property under threat is in a remote location.
Some farm owners are said to be turning their farmyards into ‘fortresses’, employing methods including using tree trunks and concrete slabs to block entrances to fields – and increasing the quality of locks used on gates and outbuildings.
However, there are a range of other solutions available to protect farms and other agricultural businesses – which draw on the strength and versatility of expanded metal mesh to provide additional layers of security.
Expanded metal security solutions
The Expanded Metal Company recently collaborated with Rural Crime Police Officers to raise awareness of how expanded metal mesh can be used in security solutions.
Our expanded metal mesh is formed from one piece of material, meaning there is nothing to work loose, no fretting strands or strained joins or welds. The homogenous design of expanded metal results in an inherently strong material and unlike other security products available on the market, our panels cannot be easily targeted at their welds or simply parted with common tools such as scissor jacks.
A product that has attracted a lot of interest is the ExMesh™ Securilath™ panel. Securilath™ – sometimes referred to in the market as Expamet – was developed in the 1990s by The Expanded Metal Company and is used across the world to target harden critical areas.
Securilath™ is a versatile material which can be easily fitted during construction or retro-fit, ideally situated within internal and external walls, ceilings, roofs and windows. It significantly delays determined intruders from creating an aperture large enough to gain entry to a premises and therefore can be used to protect outbuildings, garages and main farm buildings.
Cost effective and easy to install, ExMesh™ Securilath™ is available in three options: MD1 (an LPCB LPS 1175 SR 1* rated product); HD1 (an LPCB LPS 1175 SR 2* rated product); and Ultra (an LPCB LPS 1175 SR 3* rated product). It is suitable for both render and plaster finishes.
We also have a long history of producing other security products which can be used as part of a layered security strategy for farms and other rural business. These form part of our ExMesh™ security range.
These include solutions for perimeter fencing, including certified SR2 and SR3 mesh fencing solutions, high security gates and upgrades to existing fencing such as Paliclad (a mesh which provides an additional later of security when fixed to palisade fencing) and Fixafence (a mesh which clamps on to existing fence posts).
Rural businesses can also benefit from our anti-climb measures, which help to deter trespass: these include the ExMesh™ AVSB (Anti-Vandal Scaling Barrier), which is fitted around a central bar, where it rotates freely, to ensure criminals cannot gain a footing and The ExMesh™ Raptor, a low maintenance option which offers barbed and razor wire extensions, and rotating vanes.
Want to find out more about our solutions for combatting rural crime? Click here.
You can also contact one of our specialist ExMesh™ team here.
*Certificate Nos 731b/02 731b/01, 731b/03 and 731b/04