News Image

When a County Sligo farmer from the Republic of Ireland went to register his newly purchased second hand John Deere at his local Vehicle Registration Office he was shocked when informed that another tractor - with the exact same details - had been registered there already back in November 2015. The farmer had, in all good faith, purchased the tractor from a reputable dealer in Northern Ireland so on receiving this news contacted his local Police Station who in turn contacted the Stolen Vehicle Unit in Dublin.

The tractor was technically examined by Vehicle Examiner D/Gda Eugene O'Sullivan and somewhat surprisingly all of the identification features were original, in order and corresponded to the UK registration and V5 documents. Enquiries with the Vehicle Registration Office established that the first tractor had been registered with forged documents and that the gentleman who registered it also registered a New Holland T.7.235 tractor the following month - also with forged documents.

As you would expect Gardai immediately placed an alert on Police and the Department of Transport databases which paid off quicker than expected. A call from the DoT the very next day confirmed that a change of ownership application had been received for the New Holland.

Members from the Stolen Vehicle Unit called to the applicants address and subsequently recovered the tractor which had been professionally cloned with the details of a similar T.7.235 tractor advertised at the time with a tractor dealership in Ohio, USA. The CESAR decals on the tractor had been removed but it was easily identified from the remaining RFID chips through PANIU. It's identity was confirmed as a 2013 model reported stolen from Co Tyrone Northern Ireland in July 2015.

The following April while on inquiries with an auction house in County Kildare, members from the Stolen Vehicle Unit became aware that the suspect John Deere 6430 had been sold at the auction house back in January 2016 to a dealer in Scotland. They, in turn, sold it on to a dealer in Spain. The auction house, cooperating fully, organised for the repatriation of the stolen tractor back to Kildare where it was examined.

The CESAR examination on the tractor was however not straightforward as the reading from the CESAR decals on the rear of the tractor related to the original tractor in County Sligo whereas the RFID chips in the drivers cab and micro dots scattered around the vehicle identified the tractor as a John Deere 6430 stolen from County Antrim in August 2014. The suspects had cunningly swapped the rear mudguards of the stolen tractor with the genuine tractor in County Sligo to fool prospective buyers.

On the successful recovery Eugene said 'This one was not easy! However a combination of the CESAR technologies and my experience meant the correct identification and recovery of both these machines. I've no doubt the recent Datatag course by Nick [Mayell] on vehicle identification I attended helped too.'

As a result of further inquiries members from the Stolen Vehicle Unit then became aware of two further suspect New Holland tractors being used by a large agricultural contractor in Northern Ireland. Working with their colleagues, the Police Service of Northern Ireland from Enniskillen carrried out a search of a property in County Fermanagh where a New Holland T.6080 tractor and a New Holland T.7.235 were both recovered. The tractors were identified through the CESAR technologies even though the main CESAR decals had been removed. Both tractors, valued at £155,000 had been stolen from the New Holland dealership Ernest Doe and Sons in August 2015. The T.7.235 was brand new and unregistered but the installation of the Datatag technologies within the CESAR System saved the day as again they had been cloned. Following the successful operation chief inspector Clive Beatty commented “Rural and agricultural crime is a serious issue and we are very conscious of the impact crime can have on farmers, their families, farm workers, businesses and the wider rural community and we will do everything we can to disrupt those who target farmers and others in the countryside.”

Overall a good day for the owners and the CESAR Scheme which has proved again that with Datatag technologies and a well trained police force criminals really don't have anywhere to hide.

Date Created: 06/12/2016

Back to News