Friday, July 20, 2012

Excavators are the most stolen category of plant and equipment

Plant and equipment theft in the UK has reached an all-time high according to the 2006 Equipment Theft Report. The National Plant & Equipment Register (TER) reveals that equipment theft was up last year by 20% in number to 4,324 recorded thefts and by 13% in value to £43M, the highest it has ever been.

The report reveals that:

* Last year alone £43M worth of stolen plant and equipment was registered with TER

* Since 2000, more than 20,000 higher value plant and equipment items worth £185M have been reported as stolen to TER

* Excavators are the most stolen category of plant and equipment. Last year, 1169 stolen excavators, representing 27% of reported thefts, were registered as stolen with TER

* Excavator theft rose by 14% and accounted for 45% of the total value of plant and equipment theft in 2005

* Most commonly stolen equipment by manufacturer was Ifor Williams (horseboxes and trailers), with 952 taken. Second most stolen was JCB (excavators, telescopic handlers and backhoe loaders), with 521 taken. Third most common was Kubota (excavators) at 256

* Reported tractor thefts were up 70%; quad bikes by 62%, dumpers by 54%, breakers by 42%, rollers by 41% and fork lift trucks by 38%. Trailer theft is up 24% to 1094, representing 25% of reported theft

* The recovery rate for stolen plant and equipment is less than 5%. 95% of equipment stolen every year is not recovered

* The average value of equipment stolen last year was £9,800. 311 items reported to TER were valued at more than £20,000 each; 18 at more than £50,000. It took an average of 45 days to report thefts to TER

* The most expensive stolen item registered with TER in 2005 was a £98,000 Komatsu Loading Shovel stolen in Shropshire in June 2005 which, as far as TER is aware, has not been recovered

* Evidence directly links equipment theft to the funding of terrorist groups

* Experts fear stolen equipment could be used as a Trojan Horse either to smuggle illicit property, such as weapons or drugs into the UK , or to hide an explosive device

* Stolen excavators are often used in the theft of ATMs from banks or to partially destroy cash-in-transit vehicles; the failed attempt to steal diamonds from the Millennium Dome in 2000 used a JCB digger to break through security gates and into the dome

* Criminals involved in plant theft can be violent and may carry weapons; in one incident reported to TER, two men who tried to recover their stolen telehandler were threatened with a sawn off shotgun; in another, a 9mm pistol and a box of 9mm bullets were found behind the dashboard of a stolen digger recovered by TER

The top five police forces experiencing equipment theft, by number, were Thames Valley Police (269 thefts), Metropolitan Police (232 thefts), Essex Police (210 thefts), Kent Police (196 thefts) and Surrey Police (185 thefts). The police forces with the lowest level of recorded equipment theft were City of London , Northern, Dumfries & Galloway, Cleveland and Tayside

There is huge demand for used plant and equipment in the UK, Ireland, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa and globally; the undercurrent to this global trade is the trade in stolen plant and equipment

“In many ways, parts of the plant and equipment industry are like the Wild West of old,” said Tim Purbrick, manager of TER. “There appears to be little regulation, too much cash in hand, and very low levels of policing, either by law enforcement or the industries involved. This is despite the fact that plant and equipment theft spans the spectrum of criminality - from opportunist through serious organised criminal to terrorist.

“With the UK construction market gearing up towards the 2012 Olympics, there are significant opportunities for all parties involved to raise their game. This is not rocket science. It should be a partnership of the willing.”

A full copy of TER’s annual Equipment Theft Report, which highlights the nature and extent of equipment theft as well as recommending ways in which it can be reduced, and more stolen equipment recovered, is available from TER.


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