Turkey farmers are taking action to protect their flocks from thieves. An increasing threat from criminals means that extra measures are needed. William Grove Smith, owner of Grove Smith Turkeys says turkey farms
can be real magnet for criminals, and he’s not taking any changes with his valuable flocks.
“Not only do we have lots of valuable animals, our lovely birds, here at Hubbard’s Farm, but many farmers often have lots of expensive machinery around, which thieves want to get their hands on. Farms also tend to cover a pretty big area too, and so making sure that the entire premises are secure can be a tough job.”
Rural crime is a growing problem
Sadly, this kind of rural crime is on the rise too. Insurers NFU Mutual estimate that it cost the UK around £44.5 million in 2017, and it is now rising faster than at any time since 2010.
In fact, the turkey sector is particularly vulnerable because birds can be taken easily – and they soar in value as the festive season approaches.
So, farmers are turning to private companies to hire guards to patrol their farms or installing high-tech CCTV devices to monitor their premises and protect their birds.
On his farm in Essex, William Grove Smith has installed surveillance equipment to watch over his land and birds.
“I don’t want to give away too much about it, for obvious reasons,” says William. But it’s doing a brilliant job of protecting our animals and our machinery. And, thanks to rapidly improving technology, it’s a solution that is very flexible and extremely powerful.”
William, an award-winning turkey farmer, who supplies free-range turkey meat to hotels, restaurants, schools and high-street butchers, says this helps to give him some peace of mind.
“I know farmers who’ve lost thousands of birds, and pounds, which is very upsetting and stressful.”
Farm CCTV helps to keep everyone safe
One of the biggest worries for any farmer is just having a clear idea of who is on your farm at any one time. This is important for making sure that there aren’t thieves around, of course, but also from a health and safety point of view.
This is where having a top-notch CCTV system really comes good. “It helps us to monitor any trespassers, potential thieves (and even the odd dog walker who has wandered off a local footpath), and we can make sure that they’re fine, both in terms of their own personal safety, and their reasons for being on our land. And it also means we’re able to make sure our own workers are all working safely in their daily jobs,” says William.
Another useful feature of modern CCTV systems is that they can now be monitored remotely on a smartphone. It means that when farmers are offsite, they can still keep a really close eye on things, making sure that their property, equipment, staff and birds are safe.
“Finally, we’ve found that having CCTV coverage has another unexpected benefit. It gives us an amazing insight into the secret life of the farm. Whether it is seeing what our turkeys are getting up to when our backs are turned, watching the swallows build their nests or even nocturnal visits from a local badger, there’s never a dull moment!”