Farm GPS thieves jailed

Mick Ferris
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Two men who conspired to steal agricultural global positioning systems and other technical equipment have been sentenced to a total of six years and 10 months in jail.

Aidas Cesna, 28, and Gintaras Jankauskas, 30, both admitted conspiring to steal equipment valued at approximately £380,000 from agricultural vehicles at 13 farms and estates across Essex between 28 September and 27 October 2021.

JAILED: Gintaras Jankauskas

And today, Tuesday November 15, Jankauskas was sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court to three years and 10 months in prison. The court also made a deprivation order for his car and he was ordered to pay a victim surcharge.

Cesna was jailed for three years in July at Chester Crown Court for the same offence. He was also jailed for a further one year and six months for committing a burglary, two thefts and theft from a motor vehicle on farms and estates in Cheshire between February 10 – 14 this year.

Chelmsford Crown Court heard that, through technical analysis, officers were able to place both Cesna and Jankauskas at the scene of 14 thefts of technical equipment from combine harvesters, tractors and sprayers across Essex.

Equipment stolen included GPS equipment, navigation systems and satellite receivers, computer screens and control boxes

PC Samantha Smith, of the Rural Engagement Team, said: “Theft of GPS equipment hits our farmers hard.

“Global positioning systems are a critical part of modern farming and cost thousands of pounds to replace. Then there are the additional costs and time out of operation required to repair the damage caused by thieves.

“So, thefts can cause significant harm and disruption to farm businesses, particularly in the autumn, when delays can prove extremely costly for farmers bringing in their harvest.”

Ashley Petchey, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “Cesna and Jankauskas carried out a spree of thefts and took more than £350,000 worth of equipment over a few days.

“Thefts like these have been terrorising rural communities up and down the country, causing a huge financial loss to hard-working farmers.

“Equipment is not straightforward to replace and, often, machines are heavily damaged in the process, leaving farmers without the essential tools they need to do their job.

“In the face of the evidence collected by Cheshire Police and Essex Police, they pleaded guilty and have been sentenced.”

Visit www.essex.police.uk/ruralcrime for specific crime prevention advice. You can also find out about the police farm and rural watch scheme at www.essex.police.uk/essexwatch

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: mickferris@yellowad.co.uk