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CPA combats plant theft

1 May 2024

CPA combats plant theft

Funding by the CPA and other organisations is having a direct impact on the successful recovery of stolen plant equipment, according to Police Superintendent Andy Huddleston who heads up the National Rural Crime Unit and the National Construction & Agriculture Theft Team (NCATT).

Late last year, the CPA made a three-year commitment to fund £90,000 to help fight plant equipment theft and fraud, which costs the construction plant industry millions every year.

With additional funding from the Construction Equipment Association (CEA), CESAR theft prevention scheme donors and insurers, a total of £650,000 is being contributed collectively to help fund NCATT, a specialist team of police officers that cover the whole of the country to help tackle the theft of plant and equipment by organised criminal groups.

Andy Huddleston said: “Just one example of what we do was the excellent work to identify a lorry load of stolen plant and, through police contacts, stop it before it was loaded onto a ferry to be taken out of the country late one night. Eight stolen machines were found, including six that were taken from an auction site in Yorkshire. This comes directly on the back of the funding given to us by the CPA, CEA, CESAR donors and insurers.

“The newly created NCATT is already making a huge difference in helping recover stolen plant which is becoming even more prevalent. In this calendar year up to April, we have successfully recovered stolen plant and equipment worth over £1.7m, and the total value of the unit’s recoveries in 2023 was over £6.1m.

“We are a small unit and whilst we can’t support every theft investigation, what we are able to do is making a tangible difference and I thank the industry for its crucial support in helping us do this,” he added.

Global events such as the conflict in Ukraine are driving up demand for stolen goods, with a 200% increase in the theft of construction plant and agricultural equipment in the UK.

Prior to the war in Ukraine, between 40-70 high value machines were typically stolen in one month. But in a single month last year, over 200 machines were stolen nationwide and for the last 18 months thefts have been averaging more than 110 machines every month.

The CPA is also helping to recover stolen equipment by sharing information amongst its members. In a recent instance, all members were notified of the theft of a low loader full of equipment. Within 24 hours, the stolen machinery was found by a fellow CPA member, leading to its successful recovery and return to its rightful owner.

CPA President Brian Jones said: “It’s excellent news that our funding is helping lead to the recovery of stolen plant, which is a massive problem costing our industry huge amounts of money, stress and lost revenue. We have over 1,900 members at the CPA and we feel it’s very important that the membership funds go back towards helping them.”

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