Claims recovery firm The Equipment Register says it has foiled a professional smuggling gang that targets plant and farming machinery.

TER tracked down four tractors worth around £65,000 in Ireland this week, thought to have been stolen by the gang which operates between France, Ireland and England.

The gang is believed to remove plates or serial numbers from equipment in France, send them to the Irish Republic, and then dispatch a “snatch team” to England to identify and steal matching equipment detailed on the stolen serial number plate.

These four tractors are likely to have been shipped across the Irish Sea less than 48 hours after being stolen, probably using the Stranraer-to-Pembroke crossing.

All the tractors were insured and are now owned by the NFU Mutual.