When the clocks go back, keep thieves in the dark.

Clocks go back: Sunday, 31 October.

Thinking of security for those bikes and tools in your shed? They become more vulnerable on 31st October when the clocks go back. It may feel like a long time since the blue skies of summer, but this marks the end of British Summer Time (BST). It also means an extra hour in bed.

When the nights get longer and the clocks go back, don’t be in the dark when it comes to protecting your belongings. Bikes and tools in sheds and outbuildings are particularly vulnerable with 1 in 6 people taking no measure to secure them, as Aviva reports a 15% increase in home theft during October and November while intruders have greater opportunities to hide under the cover of darkness leading to over 22,500 instances of shed break-ins and thefts each year.

uWatch provides solutions for security in sheds, garages, and outbuildings, with the Cube which is accredited by the police’s ‘Secured By Design’ initiative and recommended by a number of police forces such as Staffordshire, Bedfordshire, and Suffolk Police. The Cube has a built-in camera and PIR motion sensor, connects to the strongest out of all available GSM mobile networks and requires no mains power making it ideal for remote locations, with instant notifications including photos and GPS data sent direct to your smartphone in under 30 seconds.

The Cube system is easy to set up, with the intuitive uWatch app and desktop system that allows you to configure your Cube’s settings to work in a way that is tailored to your needs. It can provide time- and date-stamped images, along with notifications of signal strength, GPS location and temperature, allowing you the peace of mind that should anybody try to intrude on your property, you’ll be informed instantly with all the necessary information and evidence for you to share with the police and your local community. Using your uWatch Cube alongside a Bluetooth or long-range LoRa tag means that you can be notified of a gate, shed or garage door being opened, with a photo delivered to your phone or email inbox within seconds, should any intruders gain entry.

This innovative palm-sized system is inconspicuous and can be paired with multiple LoRa tags, allowing the Cube to act as a central hub if the property, shed, or garage you need to protect has multiple points of entry or vulnerabilities. The portable size and nature of the Cube allows for it to be deployed wherever needed, with quick and easy reconfiguration allowing it to be used in scenarios ranging from outbuildings and sheds, to shipping containers and boats.

NFU Rural Crime Report 2021

NFU Mutual have released the Rural Crime Report for 2021.

Rural theft cost the UK an estimated £43.3m in 2020, a decrease on the previous year. The reduction in the cost of rural theft is welcome news but last year was no ordinary year. Lockdown helped to lock criminals out of the countryside, and increased security on farms and rural policing played a role in the reduction.

However, highly-organise criminals continued to plague farmyards over the pandemic, stealing high-value farming Global Positioning Systems, quad bikes and ATVs as the cost of agricultural vehicle theft reported to NFU Mutual remained at over £9m.

NFU Mutual

At uWatch, we have been developing a system which would help many of the issues raised in the report, fly-tipping, suspicious vehicles, GPS and vehicle theft. We have always been aware of the skilled and highly-organised nature of the criminals that we are up against, so we have created a twenty first century approach.

We are passionate about working together in local communities to fight rural crime and our Cube is police-approved.

Victims of rural crime who would usually use 101 and struggle to get through to someone actually on the front line. Our system could alert a local police officer within 25 seconds. Watch the video below to find out more or contact us on 01491 651229.

uWatch Ltd at the Security and Policing Home Office Event 2021

We are excited to be exhibiting at the Security and Policing Home Office event this year from 9-11 March. As a business we are heavily invested in improving national rural security through technology and see this event as a fantastic opportunity to share our passion with the wider sector.

We’ll be on-hand virtually to support the best we can and our virtual exhibition stand features information on our latest developments and products. Our team will be available on the platform throughout the event to assist with any questions.

You can find out more about the Security and Policing Home Office Event here, registration is open until Friday 5th March.

uWatch in the security sector

The uWatch systems empower the plethora of community “Watch” organisations to be the coordinated eyes and ears of regulatory and enforcement agencies, such as the environment or policing, to capture big data nationally and deliver intelligence and evidence locally, in seconds.  

Obsolete systems using slow, expensive call centres to report fly tipping, pavement fouling, minor theft, hare coursing, trespass, suspicious vehicles and the rest of non-serious crime, need to embrace the power of the smartphone, as Organised Crime does so effectively. The systems are delivered locally and nationally in the local user’s preferred language.

Interested in knowing more? Contact us today on 01491 651229 or lb@uwatch.co.uk.

Launch of Phones4Bees

We need your disused smartphones to help African beekeepers. 

We have launched the “Phones4Bees” campaign, a Bee.Watch project working with the Africa Honey Consortium and The Source Plus, a not for profit company working in Kenya providing solutions to agricultural and environmental issues. 

We are asking everyone to send us any disused smartphones that may be gathering dust in a bedside drawer or cupboard and help both our beekeeper’s and the environment in the process.

Smartphone technology is key to the development of beekeeping across Africa and we are developing our existing Apiary management system to create a honey traceability and payment system, Api-Trace, whilst also feeding into ‘big data’ strategies to protect the environment and pollinators alike.

African beekeepers will use the donated phones to keep real-time hive records, manage the swarm season and monitor local pesticide usage to produce the purest honey whilst also recording their training and work towards vocational qualifications. Equally importantly, the app will be the payment gateway, paying the beekeepers a fair price at source for their honey, so bringing the market to the rural beekeepers. This will result in a strengthened rural economy and increased rural employment. 

This project will initially roll out in Kenya and then out across East Africa. With commitment already from Burundi, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Nigeria and South Africa.

Take a look at the infographic below, share with your networks and follow the simple steps to donate your disused smartphones and help to make a difference. 

Find out more about this exciting project at: 
https://www.bee.watch/donate-your-phone/ and https://www.africahoneyconsortium.org/phones4bees/

Follow the conversation on social media #Phones4Bees

Bee.Watch is part of uWatch Ltd

Over 10,000 horses stolen in the UK each year

Every year horses, ponies and equine equipment worth hundreds of thousands of pounds are stolen across the country. It has been reported that over 10,000 horses are stolen each year in the UK and thousands of pounds worth of insurance claims are made for stolen tack, horseboxes and trailers.

Rural crime not only causes financial hardship and impact on insurance premiums but also impacts food prices and damages local communities and livelihoods. 

Research by NFU Mutual outlined the key trends over the year and highlighted the sharp rise in the value of organised crime (£54million), with thieves targeting high value equipment and livestock.

The Cube operates to combat rural crime and is a device that works with a roaming SIM and is lithium battery-powered (no mains power or WiFi required). The Cube provides an instant alert of any disturbances happening in areas and on items you wish to protect. This information can be shared with the police, giving them important evidence at the same time the crime is being carried out. 

Protect your high value items from theft and don’t become a victim of rural crime. Horse(s), saddles, horse boxes, jumps and arena equipment, quad bikes, rugs, feed & supplements, generators and farm machinery are all high-ticket items often found at equestrian facilities and are particularly attractive to thieves. 

With a Cube at gate entrances, stables, tack room doors and vehicles, any disturbances to the shock sensor tags or to the device itself will send an instant alert to your phone which you can escalate to the police if needed. If an item with the Cube attached is moved, such as a horsebox or trailer, the Cube can be GPS tracked and repatriated to its rightful owner. 

This gives assurance that horses and tack are in a secured and monitored environment.

The Cube doubles as an effective pest control solution where the shock sensors can be attached to a trap device and can send footage back to the cube. This will alert you to the times and levels of rodent activity, giving you the information to act appropriately.  

Rodents in feed rooms ruin expensive horse feed and have the potential to spread disease and infection to horses and those using the facility, including children. They can also cause serious and expensive damage to other items such as saddles and leather items found in tack rooms. 

Keeping Rodents Out of Your Feed Room – The Horse

According to crime data, over 376,000 bicycles are stolen each year, roughly one every 90 seconds! This alarming figure is a huge concern for many. The Insurer Admiral reported that in June alone, reported bike thefts were up 46% on 2019. 

It was also reported that bike thefts now account for more than a third (37%) of all theft claims, up from 12% last year.

With an increase to outdoor exercise over the lockdown periods, bike retailers have been selling out of many models. Whilst this is good news for the nation’s fitness, more bikes are being stolen. Cyclists are therefore being warned to be vigilant, keep an eye out for thieves and step up their bike security. 

With people being encouraged to avoid public transport where possible with the second lockdown in England, we could expect to see a second surge in bike purchases, and consequently, bike thefts.

The Cube can help put the brakes on increasing theft by improving your bike’s security, keeping an eye on your bike whilst you can’t. The smart technology will send an alert to your smartphone within 30 seconds of an attempted break in to your shed, garage or storage location. 

When travel restrictions are lifted again, this security can accompany you on your travels as the cube is totally portable. The cube will give you peace of mind that your bike is safe whilst you’re away whether that be in your car, caravan site or holiday home.

The uWatch app also allows you to record your assets, keep descriptions and date/time stamped photos of your bike and other valuables. If your bicycle is stolen, you can escalate this information to the local police and your insurance company.

Contact Louis Bennet, Product Manager either by email or call 01491 651 229 and let us discuss your requirements.

Secured by Design

Secured by Design

In order for a product or service to have a Police Recommendation, that product needs to submitted to a thorough vetting procedure. ‘Secured by Design’ are the official company to carry out this procedure.

uWatch’s Cube has been vetted and approved by Secured by Design and has been categorised under “Crime Reporting & CCTV

Secured by Design was created in 1989, and initially focused on windows and door security. Working with manufacturers, industry bodies, and certification bodies they helped to drive up standards in design and manufacture and security.

They have also worked with Government, to drive crime prevention methods into the planning process for all housing projects.

The company employs ‘Designing Out Crime Officers’. Their job is to work with developers, architects, town planners, local authorities to reduce the potential for criminal activity at the planning stage.

There are over 700 member companies approved by Secured by Design. They in turn have thousands of products that have achieved the Police Preferred Specification. uWatch is one of these companies.

Whilst uWatch has this accreditation, it does not automatically mean a Police Recommendation. The independent Police Constabularies in England and Wales, Police Scotland and the Police Service of Northern Ireland retain that right.

uWatch has worked with a number of Police Forces across the UK, attending and supporting over 30 Local and Rural Crime roadshows. Speaking to Rural Crime officers, landowners, farmers and businesses that could benefit from a product like The Cube.

If you planning a local event, whether you are Rural Crime Officer or a Local Farmers organisation – please get in touch.

Contact Louis Bennet, Product Manager either by email or call 01491 651 229 and let us discuss your requirements.


Rural Crime on the Increase

NFU Mutual

The recent Rural Crime Report 2020 published by NFU Mutual reports an almost 9% rise in the cost rural crime. The cost is over £54 million.

They report this is the highest cost in eight years of reporting.

The sharp rise has been driven by the theft of high value tractors, farm vehicles and quad bikes. Livestock rustling has also seen an increase.

Land Rover Defender
Land Rover Defender

Agricultural vehicle theft saw an increase of approximately £2million compared to 2018. Livestock theft was valued at £3.0m for 2019. NFU Mutual report separately in their stats the value of Land Rover Defender thefts. This figure now stands at £2.1m.

Geographically the worst affected region in cash terms was the Midlands at £10.6m, however the region with the biggest increase is Scotland at 44.1%. (No explanation for this massive increase is given in the NFU Mutual report)

At a granular level by counties, Wiltshire saw the biggest percentage cost of theft increase year-on-year at 102% where-as along the coast, Kent saw a decrease of 31.3%. Lincolnshire saw the largest cost of theft for a county at £2.8m. (This analysis is based on the 30 worst UK counties).

COVID-19 has taken its toll in the Countryside as we all know, but there have been increased knock on effects by some of the COVID-19 restrictions.

With the increased numbers of walkers in the countryside, farmers reported an increased number of dog attacks on livestock.

Fly tipping

Another increase, has been fly-tipping. With local authority recycling centres closed for a period of COVID-19 households and unscrupulous businesses took to using country lanes as dumping grounds.

uWatch Solutions

Reacting to the latest report from NFU Mutual, Louis Bennet, Product Manager at uWatch:

“This latest report makes grim reading. Targeting rural businesses is often seen as an easy crime, given its often remoteness either from other neighbouring properties or Police Patrols.

The stats in this report support the individual feedback that we have heard at uWatch as we have attended both Countryside and Rural Crime Prevention roadshows across the country.
uWatch has partnered with Police Forces across the Country, and have the Secured-by-Design accreditation for our Cube Security Product.
The Cube is well suited to work in the remote environments that Farms and rural properties pose. Battery powered, and not dependent on Wi-Fi, The Cube is a versatile security device.
Whether it’s directly monitoring country lanes observing for fly-tipping, or it’s tethered with blue-tooth tags to monitor gate openings or attached to a vehicle to report a movement. “