Successful Sting Operation Thanks to AT5 Unit


When a contractor was having major problems with small items of plant machinery being stolen from their fleet of equipment, they approached plant tracking specialist AMI Group for help.

AMI Group fitted several of the contractor’s machines and generators with covertly installed tracking devices and within just a few weeks, a small petrol generator was stolen but quickly recovered thanks to the AMI tracking device. The generator was hidden in a sub-contractor’s van and was successfully recovered by the Police on the individual’s driveway in Walsall, West Midlands. The machine recovered is the smallest item of tracked plant that AMI Group has ever recovered in the company’s history.

The recovery started when AMI Group received a call from the contractor advising that the generator was not located where it should be on a site in Wednesbury. Using the AMI Nexis web-based software platform, AMI Group were quickly able to locate the machine in the Walsall area some four miles away, as the generator was fitted with the AT5, a self-contained, wireless, battery operated tracking device which is just 54 x 65 x 37mm in size. The AT5 has a battery life of up to 20 years and it utilises highly sensitive assisted GPS positioning accurate to within 1 metre with pinpoint street level mapping.

The AT5 was placed into an alert state with the position transmitted every 20 minutes. AMI’s customer reported the theft to West Midlands Police and a finder was dispatched to the area by AMI Group to try and locate the stolen generator. Upon arrival at the given location, RF (Radio Frequency) technology was activated to help pinpoint the unit and it became apparent that the generator was stored in the back of the van parked on a residential driveway.

The Police arrived on the scene and tried to make contact with the van owner but there was no response at the door. After positively identifying the stolen generator in the back of the van, the Police seized the vehicle. Due to the small size and portability of the generator, it was hidden behind the driver’s seat and covered with high visibility clothing. The generator was successfully returned to AMI’s customer and the matter is now being investigated by the Police.

Peter Stockton, Operations Director of AMI Group said: “The customer originally contacted us for help, as plant theft was proving to be a major problem and very costly to the business, as the stolen items were never recovered. We fitted a number of machines with our AT5 tracking device and its worth was proven within just a few weeks, as we were able to recover the stolen generator very quickly and help reveal the source of the theft which was actually a sub-contractor.

“Traditionally, tracking devices are perceived as only being suitable for large machines, but with a trend emerging of plant thieves targeting smaller items of machinery, more customers are opting to track their smaller fleeted items. This is actually the smallest piece of kit we have ever recovered with one of our tracking devices and it really does illustrate the small size and covert nature of our systems as plant thieves don’t realise the equipment is tracked. With no hard wires to trace, the AT5 is very difficult to locate in the event of a theft. It provides a ‘fit and forget’ solution and can be transferred from machine to machine with ease within minutes,” he continued.