HAE Interface on Hire magazine

It is well documented that plant theft is a major problem in our industry and recent estimates (Allianz Cornhill, April 2016) indicate that the UK construction industry is now losing over £800 million a year as a result of the theft of plant equipment. It is not only the cost of the actual stolen plant that plant hirers or owners have to take into account, there is a great deal of inconvenience to consider, as well as additional costs including plant replacement and increased insurance premiums. Thieves are attracted to plant, not least of all because plant traditionally has very low recovery rates – less than 10% compared to motor vehicles which have a recovery rate of up to 60%.

Back in 2004, one of the HAE’s latest members, AMI Group, recognised the rising problem of plant theft and established its business based on the concept of devising effective and cost-efficient plant tracking and security solutions. Now, over £245 million of customer assets is protected with AMI tracking systems and in recognition that thieves are becoming increasingly sophisticated, AMI Group has developed the smallest, most covert devices in the industry, making them far more difficult for thieves to locate. As well as helping AMI customers recover their own plant, the company’s devices have also helped the Police to recover thousands of pounds of construction equipment not protected with an anti-theft deterrent.

In a recent example, a £15,000 valued 1 Ton Terex Dumper owned by an AMI customer was successfully retrieved in Cheshire thanks to the AMI anti-theft system, and it also led the Police to several other items of construction machinery stored in an isolated rural area including a Bobcat Excavator, a Trailer and a Volvo Digger.

Together, the haul of recovered plant equipment was valued at over £100,000 and was retrieved following a successful cross country operation involving AMI, a major plant hire company and both Cheshire and South Yorkshire Police. The recovery commenced when AMI’s customer reported the theft of a Terex Dumper from a construction site in Sheffield. Luckily, the equipment was protected against theft with an AMI Nexis battery-operated tracking device utilising advanced GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) and RF (Radio Frequency) technology and it was also registered with CESAR (The Construction & Agricultural Equipment Security and Registration Scheme).

AMI’s monitoring station utilised the company’s web-based, real-time software platform AMI Nexis to locate the equipment and could immediately see that the stolen Dumper had been moved to an area in Cheshire. AMI’s finder network was despatched to locate the equipment and the tracker’s RF signal led the finder to a remote country road, eventually leading to some land near to a manor house under renovation in Aston By Budworth, near Northwich. Both the customer and the Police were immediately informed and the Terex Dumper was recovered alongside three other items of construction equipment subsequently found to be stolen. Enquiries are continuing with the Police.

AMI offers a number of state-of-the-art tracking solutions and fleet management systems for applications including plant and vehicle tracking. One of the company’s latest innovations is the AMI Nexis AT5, a self-contained, battery operated tracking device which utilises state-of-the-art GPS (Global Positioning System), GSM and RF technology. Reporting to and visible via the AMI Nexis Software Platform 24/7, the AT5 is lightweight, small sized (21 x 55 x 52mm) and can be concealed almost anywhere on any asset. Via its advanced battery management software, the unit has the capacity to last up to 18 years and it is backed by IP68 waterproof rating, ensuring it is robust and heavily protected. The device has the ability to be traced both outdoors and indoors even in very remote locations. In situations where GPS is unavailable, the device relays GSM cell site positions and the internal RF beacon can be activated to assist in locating stolen assets.