21 July 2021
Equipment is in great demand – but sadly not just from people with good intentions.
Thieves realise there’s a ready market for tools and plant as a result of the disruptions to the supply chain and so hirers need to be as vigilant as ever.
Rolfe Jackson, managing director of the Lincoln-based hirer ViC Group, tells me that his alert team thwarted an attempted fraudulent hire recently.
“We took a call from someone pretending to be from one of our regular customers, requesting a 1-tonne mini and a hydraulic breaker. However, they gave a name that we didn’t recognise, so the hire controller became suspicious.
“We log the names of people who are authorised to deal with us, as well as any site contacts, and we keep this information on our computer system.
“Being a family-owned operation we take a personal interest in our customers and we get to know them, and the way they do business. So anything unusual stands out,” says Rolfe.
“In addition, we record whether or not a customer has their own hired-in plant insurance cover, and the hire controller noticed this had lapsed. When he rang the company that the caller was pretending to be from to tell them, they said they hadn’t ordered any equipment and didn’t recognise the person’s name.”
The caller rang in the morning asking for the equipment to be delivered by 1.30pm in a remote area near Newark. Once the ViC Group became suspicious they informed the Police and then politely declined the hire, saying there was an insurance issue.
Even then, the caller rang back a couple of times, perhaps seeing whether he might be successful if someone different answered.
“There seems to be a spate of plant and equipment theft and this is another reminder that we all need to keep on the lookout.
“Some other things to look out for are callers who quote a new site address, particularly in remote areas; unusually urgent requirements; or specific timed delivery instructions such as ‘I’m only going to be on site between these times’,” says Rolfe.
So, well done to the ViC Group team whose vigilance thwarted an attempt to steal £20,000 of equipment and avoided a whole load of inconvenience.
● Read an earlier story about how ViC Group developed a range of hand sanitising equipment to help users meet Covid-19 requirements.
Photo: Mikhail Nilov/Pexels