Two men jailed for theft of tractor GPS equipment
A Hull court has sentenced two 'calculated criminals' to prison after they were convicted of stealing over £200,000 worth of high-value tractor GPS kits. Tomas Staukauskas, 32 and Mantas Palionis, 31, both of Hull, were sentenced after pleading guilty of handling stolen goods and going equipped for theft.
According to a report in Farming UK, an investigation was launched after officers located a car that had been identified as being involved in multiple high value thefts on 30 September. The driver of the car, Staukauskas, was arrested after an on-foot chase.
Inside the car, a substantial amount of large farming GPS devices were found, several of which had been reported as stolen. They were wrapped in tinfoil to prevent the signal of the devices being detected.
Humberside Police eventually recovered 48 GPS units and screens that the pair had stolen.
“This was a complex case that involved work from multiple teams across the force as well as colleagues from North Yorkshire Police," said Humberside Police Officer Andrew Green.
"The theft of GPS receivers continues to be a local priority for our force and we will not tolerate anyone who thinks it is okay to target our farmers in this way.”
Following the sentencing, NFU Mutual warned that the scale of GPS theft had 'worryingly ramped up in recent years'. The rural insurer's data shows that in 2022, the cost of GPS theft increased by 15% to £1.8 million.
Bob Henderson, head of engineering at NFU Mutual, said: “It is important farmers are not complacent by this latest news and remain on guard by updating their security and recording any serial numbers and photographing GPS kit.”