Series of plant machinery thefts sweep across Lincolnshire Roger Ashford

There have been several incidents of theft of plant machinery across the county over the past fortnight. Vehicles stolen include a dumper truck, a material handler, and a transporter.

Lincolnshire Police is issuing advice on keeping machinery secure.

Superintendent Phil Vickers, who oversees rural crime at Lincolnshire Police, said: “We’ve seen several thefts of plant machinery over the past two weeks, from across Lincolnshire.

“We are investigating these incidents, and we’re also keen to let those who own and rent this equipment know that there are several measures available to increase security and safety.”

There are a range of steps that can be taken to help.

For protecting machinery on building sites:

  • Warning signs around the perimeter of the property advertise the fact that anyone entering is trespassing. You can also make aware that there is CCTV, and that the plant machinery is registered and traceable;
  • Whilst many sites have hired plant machinery, if possible it is advisable to have trackers fitted;
  • Install good fencing. A secure perimeter with good natural surveillance can be a good deterrent, particularly if the site has CCTV and good lighting;
  • Enlist the help of neighbours. On sites where some properties are already occupied, encourage homeowners to report and suspicious activity “out-of-hours”;
  • If possible, employ security guards.

For protecting machinery on farms:

  • Wherever possible, restrict open access to the farmyard. This can often be difficult in isolated rural locations, but with careful planning the location of equipment and plant can be considered and security put in place to reduce the likelihood of theft. Creating an alarmed, high-risk area – possibly an individual barn/outbuilding – with the addition of loud sounders or beam alarms is a possibility.

Sally Picker, crime reduction tactical advisor at Lincolnshire Police, said: “Whilst putting more security in place can often seem time-consuming on a daily basis, it can reduce the risk of becoming the victim of crime.”

Those who live and work in the countryside are also encouraged to join the Farm And Country Business Watch scheme. Launched in 2005, it has more than 1,300 members who share information and knowledge to reduce opportunities for crime.

Danny O’Shea of the National Farmers’ Union, said: “Plant machinery can be extremely expensive and these thefts are a growing concern for the rural community.

“Last year also saw an increase in vehicles being stolen at the roadside during harvest. We are urging all of our members to make sure vehicles are safely secured and the keys are kept away from the vehicle.

“We would encourage all farmers to protect property wherever possible, and join the Farm And Country Business Watch scheme.”