A rural insurer is urging Land Rover Defender owners to safeguard their vehicles against clued-up thieves.
NFU Mutual says Defender owners must adopt a combination of traditional and technological security measures in the wake of figures showing that Defender theft cost £2.4 million in 2022. Current claims data suggests that the cost of Defender theft is set to increase again in 2023.
As well as stealing vehicles, NFU Mutual frequently receives reports that Land Rover Defenders are being stripped for their valuable parts.
Stolen Defenders have been tracked as far afield as Africa and Eastern Europe, with police and insurance experts finding fields full of half-dismantled Defenders stripped of their parts.
Andrew Chalk, car insurance specialist at NFU Mutual, said: “We’ve been insuring Defenders since they first rolled onto British farms, and sadly we’ve seen a significant spike in thefts in recent years, with opportunistic thieves, joyriders and organised criminal gangs all targeting the iconic vehicles.
“Defenders have wide and enduring appeal, both as a trusty workhorse and an icon of British motoring, making them coveted collectors’ pieces. Unfortunately, this also means that their value and the value of their parts remains high, making them a repeat target for thieves after whole vehicles or individual parts.
DC Chris Piggott of the National Construction and Agri Thefts Team, which sits within the National Rural Crime Unit of the police, added: “Part of the charm of classic Defender is also what makes them vulnerable to theft, as they are not fitted with modern security systems – and their charm also drives up their value, making them an attractive target for thieves.
“In fact, since production was stopped on the classic Defender model, their parts have quadrupled in value. Sadly, it’s not uncommon to find vehicles which have been stripped for parts in situ.”