A FAMILY farm has been left reeling after thieves stole around £25,000 of equipment.

The owners of G & J Barron Farms, just off Pattocks Lane in Chappel, said they were “frustrated and upset” after criminals made off with thousands in GPS technology.

The farm has been run by the Barron family since 1943 and is perhaps best know for its Christmas turkeys.

It also went the extra mile to support residents during the pandemic by delivering vegetables using a tractor and trailer.

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Now the family say they are going to have to fork out thousands to replace the stolen equipment.

The thieves struck between 9pm on Monday and 6am yesterday, breaking into the farm’s machinery shed.

They stole three GPS receivers and two stand alone touch screens from the inside of the tractors and combine harvester and caused damage to the machinery.

The equipment is important as it makes the machinery more efficient and precise.

With the GPS, the tractors can drive themselves and follow a much more accurate route.

Ross Barron, 42, who runs the farm with his family, said: “We’re currently scanning through our CCTV and today we have to fit another screen to our combine.

“With the GPS, its self-steering and more accurate but we actually need the screen to operate the combine. We need to get harvesting again.

“It’s frustrating and it makes the day longer. We’ll have to load them all up again and calibrate them all again.

“It’s a big inconvenience really and it’s come at a bad time of the year.

“There is so much of this going on but we’ve been lucky here before.

"There are things which make it harder like Google Earth because they can see how to get in.

“It’s upsetting and we don’t know if they’ve taken something else we won’t know about until we need it.

"It's not very nice knowing someone has been on our property. It's worrying.

"We have livestock on the farm and we raise turkeys for Christmas.

"We found their shed door open where we keep the young ones who can't go out yet and someone's looked in to find anything valuable.

"A fox could've gone in and we're lucky they didn't because they'd have had a field day.

"We're definitely going to have more cameras up."

It comes as insurers NFU reported a spike in rural crime worth £2.7 million in Essex alone last year.

A spokesman for Essex Police said: "We were called at around 7.30am today, Tuesday 4 August, about a burglary overnight off Pattocks Lane, Chappel.

"A man reported that suspects had gained access to farmland before taking tools and equipment estimated to be worth a five-figure sum.

"He also reported damage to three tractors.

"Anyone with information is asked to call Colchester police station on 101 quoting crime reference 42/112374/20 or you can visit www.essex.police.uk.

"Alternatively, you call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."