A rural police force has unveiled its new squad car – a blue and yellow TRACTOR which boasts a top speed of 25mph and comes complete with a flashing blue light.
The John Deere 6630 has been liveried in police stripes and badges and modified with a blue light taken from a standard police van.
It was unveiled by Lincolnshire Police to spearhead the launch of Operation Fusion – an initiative against agricultural crime.
The tractor will be displayed at shows to highlight police work but could also be used in the event of severe flooding or an environmental disaster.
The vehicle the brainchild of Chief Inspector Phil Vickers, of Lincolnshire Police, who said there is a ”serious message” behind the scheme.
He said: ”I have taken the tractor out for a spin and it does require some skill to control, so all credit to the guys who do this for a living.
”The tractor looks like a bit of fun but there is a serious message behind it – that we take rural crime seriously and want to work closely with our local communities.
”At this time of year agricultural crime can have a big impact on farmers because if a tractor is stolen people can lose their jobs or livelihood.
”That’s why we are trying to make people aware of all the deterrents that are available and encouraging farmers to avoid becoming victims by tagging their vehicles.”
The 150bhp tractor, which weighs around eight tonnes, is worth £50,000 and has been lent to Lincolnshire Police by its manufacturers John Deere UK.
The cost of altering the tractors livery, from green to yellow, blue and white reflective stripes, was paid for by the National Farmer’s Union.
Police hope the vehicle will highlight the rise in agricultural crime and encourage farmers to ‘tag’ their vehicles with Smartwater, which can be seen under UV light.
The John Deere, which was completed on Wednesday, could also be used in the event of an environmental disaster, such as a flood or earthquake.
NFU’s regional director, Richard Hezlet, has warned farmers to ”remain vigilant” against agricultural thieves.
He said: ”Farm tractors and implements seem to be at the top of thieves shopping lists at the moment, so NFU is delighted to support Lincolnshire Police in its drive to make farmers aware of how they can better protect their farms.
”Our advice, as always, is to remain vigilant and report anything suspicious to the police.
”We must help them by being their eyes and ears in the countryside and by making Lincolnshire a no-go area for thieves.”