Combined Industry Theft Solutions


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April 2020


POLICE RECOVER IN EXCESS OF 100K WORTH OF STOLEN EQUIPMENT DURING C19 LOCKDOWNIn these challenging times, the Combined Industries Theft Solutions Board (CITS) and its associated members, have been reporting an increase in the number of plant and agricultural equipment thefts and fraud events that have been occurring during the lockdown period.

DC Chris Piggott from The National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Unit (NAVCIS), and a member of the main CITS advisory Board, is a police officer who has been investigating theft reports thick and fast in the last couple months. In particular he has seen an increase in Quad bikes, trailers, small plant items, tractors and other farm equipment reported as stolen.

With the targeted intelligence he has received, it has enabled Chris and his team to successfully recover hundreds of thousands pounds worth of construction and farming equipment in the last couple of weeks. Amongst the success stories was a Bulgarian lorry stopped on its way to Dover, which unveiled a treasure trove of stolen items including 3 quads, 2 excavators, a skidsteer loader and several off road motorcycles and power tools in the rear, all confirmed as stolen. The driver was arrested and is still under investigation, this operation also highlighted that Eastern Europe is still a key destination for stolen equipment.

Stolen Plant Equipment

A few weeks before, a 2019 JCB Telehandler was stolen from a major UK hire company and was discovered and seized in Romania. The machine’s markings including CESAR markings had all been removed. Chris managed to identify it as it had been reported stolen a month before. An arrest was made by the Romanian Police and enquiries are still ongoing.

CITS urges anyone who has construction machinery on closed construction sites, or businesses temporarily shut as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, to make sure all items are secure and to follow the CITS best practice advice. Where possible also remember to keep all items out of view to avoid temptation from opportunistic thieves.

Chris who also works closely with the farming communities urges that people take all possible steps to secure farm equipment, as thieves are likely to take advantage of isolated communities and stretched police resources during the coronavirus outbreak to steal from farms.

Key Tips to secure your machine:

  1. Remove keys. Just as you wouldn't leave the keys in your front door at home, store keys securely.
  2. Keep your machine locked up and secured. Thieves often stake out an area before they raid, so where possible store machinery in a locked building or where it can’t be seen from the road.
  3. Use the CESAR marking and registration system. Markings make your property less attractive to criminals and can help recover your belongings if they are stolen.
  4. Install immobilisers and tracking devices on equipment. Thieves can’t take what they can't start and won’t want to be found if they make off with your property.
  5. Know what you own. Take pictures of your vehicle and record serial numbers. This includes hired in equipment.
Stolen Plant and Motorcycles