At least four Defender thefts a week were being reported to NFU Mutual in January 2020. Although numbers fell to six a month from April to June, thefts are now approaching pre-pandemic levels.
Rebecca Davidson, NFU Mutual rural affairs specialist, said: “Land Rover Defenders continue to be a target for thieves and every week farmers and enthusiast owners are waking up to find their precious Land Rovers gone – or stripped of bonnets, doors and wings.”
“There’s a burgeoning black market for parts, with many of these beloved classics getting dismantled in driveways and farmyards, or being whisked away to chop shops.”
Davidson warned that organised criminals are scouring farmyards and country properties in search of Defenders they can steal. Series 1 Land Rovers are also in demand “due to their vintage value”.
How to secure your Defender
NFU Mutual has the following advice for securing a Land Rover Defender:
Keep the vehicle locked when not in use.
Fit an accredited alarm for security.
Fit a tracking device to locate the vehicle if stolen.
Fit a mechanical immobiliser such as a steering wheel or pedal lock.
Consider using a forensic marketing solution on component parts.
Keep the vehicle in a lockable building or park in a well-lit area.
Have the vehicle identification number etched on the windows.
Consider fitting a battery isolator or fuel cut-off switch.
Take photographs of unusual features which could aid identification if the Defender is stolen.
Ensure valuables are removed from the vehicle.
Don’t share information on social media which could indicate where the Land Rover is kept.
In 2016, thieves stole the doors and bonnet from a police Land Rover Defender.