Police Recover Thousands of Pounds of Stolen Machinery at Portsmouth Ferry Port
|Author: Hampshire Police||Published: 26th January 2012 14:28|
Hampshire Constabulary has recovered two diggers worth an estimated £23,000 en route to France, following two thefts in November last year.
The orange Hitachi EX30 and the Takeuchi TB125 were intercepted en route to Portsmouth Continental Ferry Port where they were to be shipped to new foreign owners. The haulier had taken on the job in good faith, not realising the cargo it had agreed to transport was stolen property.
The seizure was carried out on January 16 when officers spotted the truck transporting the machines on the A34 at Whitchurch, and made background checks.
The checks revealed that the vehicles were in fact stolen, having been taken from two separate premises in Oldham, Greater Manchester in November last year, and were heading for export to France.
PC Ian Jackson of the force's Roads Policing Commercial Vehicle Unit, said: "This isn't a case of low-level criminals seizing an opportunity. These crimes are more often than not perpetrated by organised gangs with international links and demand in the foreign market.
"Although these vehicles came from outside of our force area, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight are prime targets because of our isolated rural communities and transport network.
"Considering that these diggers would fetch £8,000 and £15,000 each, it's not surprising that this is big business, so we're doing all we can to protect our rural communities from falling victim to this kind of criminal enterprise."
Hampshire Constabulary recovers hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of stolen agricultural and plant machinery every year.
The theft of such equipment nationally is big business, with Hampshire's more rural areas proving to be classic targets.
Most of the stolen machines are sold to buyers abroad by organised criminal networks and transported legitimately by unsuspecting hauliers.
Each piece of equipment bears a unique manufacturer's serial number, which is often altered so the machinery isn't flagged up to the authorities as stolen.
"This was the case for the Takeuchi on this occasion," said PC Jackson. "The engine ID plate had been removed and the last four digits of the false serial number crudely stamped on the side of the king pin plate.
"I would urge owners of this kind of machinery to ensure that it is properly stored and secured. The Construction and Agriculture Equipment Security and Registration Scheme (CESAR) is supported by the Home Office and the Association of Chief Police Officers and is an excellent way of safeguarding machinery of this nature.
"We are working with Greater Manchester Police to identify those responsible for the thefts."