FARMERS in Flintshire have become victims of a professional gang of quad bike thieves after more than £15,000 of ATVs were stolen in one night, a union has said.

Farmers Union of Wales (FUW) member John Wrench, a beef and arable farmer of Beeches Farm in Hawarden, discovered the theft of his 2011 green and black Yamaha Grizzly 350, at the same time as three other bikes were taken when six farms in the same area were robbed.

His quad bike - registration A0502374 - was worth £2500.

The incident happened between the evening of Sunday, July 23 and the following morning.

“The worst thing is that the thieves broke through a security door and roller shutter to get into the shed the bike was kept in, there’s no way we could have prevented the theft,” said Mr Wrench.

"It was definitely a professional job.

“It seems they walked through the fields, cutting padlock and chains on six gates and used any tools that they could find to break in.

“The damage was even more annoying than losing the bike - so much so that we shall not be replacing it. We’re going to use an old small 4x4 instead.

"I used the quad for feeding and moving cattle and spraying.

"We do tend to rely on it and use it all the time so it is difficult to do the job without it."

Meanwhile at the Llanwrst Show another FUW member, Andy Hughes, was showing a new anti-theft device he has developed to reduce the risk of robbery.

The QUADCLAW is hand fabricated in his workshop at Brynford.

He explained: “The idea is to reduce the chance of losing your expensive bike from chance thieves.

"There’s been a lot of interest in the claw, the increase in ATVs being stolen is worrying for everyone.”

FUW Insurance compliance director Roger Van Praet advises any farmers buying a new ATV to register it, and also fit a tracker.

He said: "The cost of these two simple and relatively cheap options will help to deter the theft of these highly saleable bikes, increases the chance of getting the vehicle back and may also reduce the cost of insurance.

“Other sensible precautions include keeping the ATV in a solid building with security doors which is close to the farmhouse, installing security cameras and lights.”

Regarding the theft of the quad bike from Mr Wrench, a spokesman for North Wales Police told the Leader the investigation is ongoing and is believed to be linked to thefts of other quads.

Anyone who has information can contact police on 101 with reference X08 74 64.