Theft has daily devastating consequences for the entire rural community, including farmers, livestock owners and agricultural businesses. NFU Mutual’s theft claim figures reveal that rural crime cost the UK £54.3m in 2019. This is an increase of nearly 9% on the previous year, making it the highest cost recorded in eight years.

For the second year running, the sharp rise was driven by thefts of high-value tractors (£9.3m) and quad bikes and other farm vehicles (£3.1m). Livestock theft also increased to £3m last year, with organised gangs taking large numbers of stock stolen for slaughter.

According to NFU’s Rural Crime Report 2020, this year’s Covid-19 lockdown resulted in an initial reduction in thefts, but keen to cash in on the crisis, criminals continued to target the countryside and there were spikes in crimes such as livestock rustling.

Protecting rural property today requires vigilance and an agile response. With thieves constantly seeking ways to defeat security measures, leading security expert Mul-T-Lock is suggesting a number of ways in which farmers and agricultural business owners can protect their assets.

For those looking for an access control solution that offers convenience and comprehensive audit trails, Mul-T-Lock’s eCLIQ technology includes the ability to schedule individual access permissions, provide time-limited access and revoke access to particular keys as and when needed.

A completely electronic locking system, eCLIQ cam locks can be quickly and easily retrofitted to any existing mechanical door lock and eCLIQ padlocks are ideal for multiple applications, including external gates, cattle sheds and even firearms cabinets.

Being able to revoke access if a key is lost or misplaced not only offers enhanced security but also significantly reduces whole life costing, as it removes the need to replace physical locks; and keys can be validated daily, weekly or monthly to keep them continuously secure.

What’s more, the eCLIQ system’s audit trail capabilities mean that farmers and rural business owners are provided with comprehensive data illustrating who accesses which lock, where and when; ideal for those who want to determine who should have access to livestock, firearms and expensive machinery such as tractors, quads and ATVs.

Working on a modular system, eCLIQ locks are quick and easy to install with no cabling required, offering an easy-to-install and low maintenance solution for farmers and rural business owners. Not only is maintenance not required for up to 200,000 cycles, but key batteries are also fast and easy to replace once every 30,000 operations, at a nominal cost to the business, with no need for specialist tools.

For those looking for a high security mechanical solution, Mul-T-Lock’s range of heavy duty padlocks are ideal for securing large containers, cattle sheds and livestock pens. Leading the series are the NE and NG range of padlocks, which are capable of functioning with high reliability in all conditions, providing excellent resistance against physical attacks and maximum resistance against weather and other environmental conditions and impacts, such as corrosion. The NE and NG range is not only CEN Rated, but also Sold Secure Bronze, Silver and Gold certified by the Master Locksmith Association.

In addition, Mul-T-Lock’s HaspLock Diamond is a convenient and highly cost-effective high security mechanical locking solution with a weather resistant, stainless steel casing body, with a locking bolt that cannot be removed.

Mul-T-Lock also boasts an extensive range of advanced products that provide protection to commercial and private vehicles of all types, including lock cases, Thatcham accredited slam locks, deadlocks, euro cylinders, camlocks and padlocks. These products are adapted to suit market needs and are of the highest specification and quality, having evolved to a heavy-duty commercial offering.