A new initiative hopes to reduce the theft of trailers by educating owners and welding registration numbers.

The partnership between Central District Police and the Motor Trade Association (MTA) comes after nearly 200 trailers were stolen in the district last year.

Inspector Mark Harrison said one of the key drivers behind the number of thefts is that trailers are often left insecure.

"Many people see a trailer as a 'tool' and leave it on their front lawn or up the driveway unlocked and with no security on it," he said.

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Further compounding this problem is the low recovery rate of trailers when they are taken – only a third of trailers stolen are recovered.

"Trailers are easily 'rebirthed' when they are taken. A new registration plate and a coat of paint, and it is very difficult for us to identify them when we do locate them," Harrison said.

The new project will offer MTA members advice to prevent trailer thief and the opportunity to weld the trailer registration number on to the trailer during its warrant of fitness.

When police staff locate a trailer, or stop a vehicle towing a trailer, this will enable them to identify the trailer via the welded number.

Alternatively, if it is apparent an attempt has been made to remove a welded number, police can inquire further regarding ownership of the trailer.

Trailers will also be marked, to make clear to would-be thieves that the trailer has a welded number, in an attempt to deter theft in the first instance.

"Our members are an integral part of their local community and this is a way for us to help people safeguard their property," MTA's sector manager Graeme Swan said.

The project commenced on December 1 and will be reviewed after six months.

If anyone wants to take advantage of this service, they can find their local MTA member at www.mta.org.nz.