Top tips to deter equipment theft

Ian Mather-Brewster shares his suggestions after working almost 40 years in the industry, initially as a grassroots grounds manager, becoming a Regional Pitch Advisor in 2008, and also now a GaNTIP Key Account Manager for cricket.

The Grounds Management Association has noticed increased reports of equipment theft, which is hugely impacting grounds staff, businesses and volunteers across the UK. It has recently been reported that a number of grounds have had they equipment stolen, and it’s recognised that this is an ongoing battle that most sports clubs or contractors have to tackle.

The GMA is determined to help deter the theft of grounds equipment and issues top tips to help individuals keep equipment safe and what to look out for if someone approaches with second-hand products for sale.

Mark-up and lock-up

It’s always marking items with a unique code, name, or engraving in a discreet place to help identify any items, if stolen. Look for recommended marking kits, chains and alarmed padlocks for equipment – and when selecting any chains or padlocks, always look out for a ‘sold secure’ mark of approval.

If you have space for a garage or security cabinets, keeping equipment hidden from sight keeps thieves guessing where valuable items are stored. For large equipment, ground anchors can also be useful. 

Invest in additional safety

If you have a lockable location, adding garage defenders is something else for potential thieves to get through. For individual items, immobilisers on tractors are recommended and you can also register equipment on for additional security.

Security cameras are beneficial, if you are able to install these, however dummy cameras can also help deter criminals.

Be vigilant

If you are offered any second-hand machinery, check where it has come from and look out for any signs of unusual damage, such as marks from chains or padlocks forcefully removed. A tell-tale sign of stolen machinery can be if a grass box is missing, or attachments are mismatched. Always ask the seller where the item was purchased, and for any original receipts or documentation.

Use your local networks

Contact police community officers for advice, as well as other clubs in the area who may have experienced similar scenarios. If you’re a GMA member or have contact with a Regional Pitch Advisor, contact them with details of any stolen items so they can make broader contacts aware in case they’re approached.