THREE suspected tractor thieves were arrested after a police chase.

At about 7.30pm on Saturday, North Yorkshire Police received a report of the theft of a New Holland 7840 tractor from a farm in the rural Tadcaster area. The vehicle was believed to have been stolen at around 5pm the same day.

That night, at about 9.30pm, it was reported to police in West Yorkshire that a tractor was being driven erratically in Castleford.

A spokesman for North Yorkshire Police said: "Officers from North Yorkshire and West Yorkshire Police made towards the area, and spotted the tractor being driven at speeds of around 25mph, the wrong way round a roundabout and off-road. The tractor stopped after a brief pursuit, and three men made off from the vehicle.

"Three men aged 17, 18 and 28 were arrested nearby a short time later – all on suspicion of theft of a motor vehicle, and the 28-year-old also on suspicion of failing to stop, dangerous driving, drug driving and driving while disqualified. They have been released under investigation while inquiries continue."

The tractor was recovered and returned to its owner.

Officers from North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Taskforce have stepped up patrols in the area from which the tractor was taken.

Police are also reminding farmers and anyone else who owns plant and agricultural machinery to take extra measures to protect their valuable property: visit for advice.

Farmers can take advantage of ‘Operation Woollen’, an initiative to secure and protect every one of York and North Yorkshire’s 8,000 farms. As part of the campaign, farms can benefit from a free visit from a PC or PCSO with expertise in farm security and crime prevention advice.

Inspector Jon Grainge, of North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Taskforce, said: “North Yorkshire is one of the safest places in the country, but it’s important we stay vigilant and do everything we can to keep people and businesses safe, particularly in rural areas.

“Thanks to Operation Woollen, every farm in the county can receive a free crime prevention pack, and be offered a security survey by a trained expert. In addition, we will be promoting dot peen property marking, and encouraging businesses to sign up to the North Yorkshire Community Messaging system.”