Stolen to Order!

The criminals behind plant theft generally fall into two categories – opportunist thieves who target equipment left lying around sites or by the roadside, and organised gangs who either circulate stolen machines or parts in the UK, or supply them to foreign criminal syndicates for immediate export to countries such as Ireland, Africa, the United Arab Emirates and several European countries.

Heavy plant machinery can prove very profitable for thieves, especially if they can move it abroad out of the sight of the construction industry in this country. Serious organised criminals target plant machinery to sell on quickly and make a lucrative living out of it. It is often perceived as a low-risk, high-reward crime with far less risk than other criminal activity such as smuggling drugs.

There are many cases of mention, including one where a criminal gang was suspected of removing plates and serial numbers from equipment in France and sending them on to Ireland, from where a snatch team was dispatched to England to identify and steal similar equipment on which to fix them. This creates a demand for certain types of equipment that are stolen to order – from generators and excavators and breakers and pumps.

Most high value equipment theft takes place in the early part of weekends, ensuring the criminal has the maximum amount of time between the theft and its discovery. Sites have often been targeted in the late evening so that criminals can take the equipment out of the country by the time work begins the next day.

AMI Group is leading the way when it comes to plant security. We offer a range of cost-effective plant tracking devices which can assist the safe return of plant machinery in the unfortunate event of it being stolen. This small investment can pay dividends, as the money spent on increasing security measures can be quickly recovered through insurance discounts, reduced claims and less downtime.

Virtually on a daily basis we are helping AMI Group customers across the UK to locate and recover stolen equipment as a result of the use of state-of-the-art tracking devices which utilise GPS (Global Positioning System), GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) and RF (Radio Frequency) technology. Once an AMI tracking device is fitted to a piece of machinery, customers can logon to the AMI Nexis web-based portal to establish its destination in the event of it being stolen. Over £245 million worth of customer assets are now protected with AMI Group systems, including several of the UK’s national plant hirers and construction companies.