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Only 9% of plant machinery stolen in the uk is recovered

Date: 28 April 2016

According to the Plant & Agricultural National Intelligence Unit (PANIU), run by the Metropolitan Police, the national recovery rate for plant machinery currently stands at just 9%*. TRACKER (part of the Tantalum Corporation), the leading stolen vehicle recovery (SVR) provider is urging construction and civil engineering industries to tighten up their protection of assets to avoid costly building delays, lost productivity and increased insurance premiums.

“Plant thieves are usually highly organised and employ a broad range of tactics to steal valuable items of machinery, many of which are destined for export via any one of the major ports in the UK,” explains Andy Barrs, Head of Police Liaison at TRACKER. “Rapid building expansion in the Far East, Africa and Eastern Europe has created unprecedented demand for this machinery, which frequently ends up in containers on its way to ports such as Tilbury and Southampton.”

“Unfortunately, our experience as a stolen vehicle tracking and recovery company suggests that many construction sites still lack even the most basic physical security measures, meaning that determined thieves are able to walk on to site and steal equipment quite easily. A common trend is for thieves to turn up on sites at weekends and/or out-of-hours, purporting to be maintenance engineers, who then go on to compromise ignition systems and either drive or tow away items of plant away without being challenged.”

Criminals often steal property which can easily be tampered with, manipulating the original manufacturer’s identification numbers or marks so that the stolen property is less likely to be identified and hindering the police in tracing its rightful owner.  Plant manufacturers have also previously employed a ‘one key fits all’ approach and although significant improvements have been made, this in turn has fuelled the theft of older plant machinery, again due to the sheer demand created by overseas markets.

“At TRACKER our current average recovery rate on plant machinery stands at 50%, which is probably the highest in the industry, but one which we are fiercely committed to improving,” continues Andy Barrs. “There are a number of simple steps that can be taken to reduce potential theft opportunities and improve the chances of stolen equipment being reunited with owners.  These include ensuring it has secure marking, conducting thorough audits of site security and working in partnership with the police to employ tactics that deter thefts.

“However, we would always encourage operators to fit a TRACKER to their plant equipment. With our long-standing relationship with UK Police forces and unique VHF tracking technology, we are able to recover a significant amount of stolen plant before it is shipped out of the country.”

So powerful is TRACKER’s stolen vehicle recovery system that it is Thatcham approved, offering added quality assurance and the possibility of an insurance discount, and is the only SVR solution used by all UK police forces. 

* Metropolitan Police PANIU website March 2016
**HSB Engineering Insurance publication ‘Plant Theft – A Major Risk to UK Businesses’ July 2014

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