DEFEND your Defender – that is the message from North Yorkshire Police as action is stepped up to tackle the thieves who are targeting the valuable vehicles.

An analysis of police information and intelligence has revealed a trend of thefts and attempted thefts involving Land Rovers, with Ryedale being one of the worst-hit districts.

North Yorkshire Police arrested three men in connection with the theft of a Land Rover Defender near Pickering earlier this month.

Officers used a drone with a thermal imaging camera to track down the stolen vehicle. Three men were arrested and have been released under investigation while enquiries continue.

Police patrols – in both marked and unmarked vehicles – have been increased, and owners are being urged to take extra security precautions.

“Land Rovers continue to be the workhorses of many farms and rural businesses – so when they are stolen or damaged it has a significant impact,” said Inspector Matt Hagen, of North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Taskforce.

“That’s why it’s so important to check your security and put in place extra measures to defend your Defender.

"Vehicle trackers in particular are invaluable and can make all the difference in recovering a stolen vehicle and identifying suspects.”

Older models of Land Rover Defenders are highly valuable, due to the continuing popularity of the vehicle, and the ease of breaking them down into parts.

Owners of Land Rovers are being urged to fit a vehicle tracking system, always leave your vehicle locked and alarmed, park in a locked garage or other secure area and review your home and business premises security.

“We are making life as difficult as possible for criminals,” added Inspector Hagen.

“Our patrols are proactively stopping and checking Land Rovers and using ANPR technology to target suspicious vehicles linked to thefts.

“Building on our recent successful investigations and coupled with strong security measures, thieves will hopefully get the message that it’s simply not worth the risk operating in North Yorkshire.”

If you are aware of any suspicious activity around Land Rovers or other vehicles, contact North Yorkshire Police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.