The PSNI have recently seen an increase in the number of reports of theft of metals such as copper and other equipment such as boilers from partially built or vacant properties.
The police recognise the cost of not only replacing such items but the collateral damage their removal can cause. The Police have increased their focus on preventative patrolling however cannot deal with this issue in isolation and need to increase awareness of how contractors can safeguard partially completed houses and building sites.
Metal theft, in particular the theft of boilers is a serious issue and police understand the concerns of those who have been directly involved. When key building equipment or machinery is stolen, this has a direct impact on their ability to carry out day to day business. The PSNI and our partner agencies are committed to reducing this sort of crime across Northern Ireland.
Chris Sloan Head of Crime Prevention, said, “There is rarely a legitimate reason for plant machinery and tractors to be used late at night or in the early hours. Members of the public should report any such unusual movement to police on the non-emergency number 101. If you see heavy plant machinery on the move during these times, it is highly likely that it has been stolen, and possibly about to be used in a crime.
“Extra vigilance is especially required where plant machinery is located in the vicinity of Automated Teller Machines (ATM’s). Please report anything suspicious to police.
“Business and construction crime affects more than just those people who are direct victims; it impacts on jobs, the environment and the economy. It is a concern for all of us and I would therefore ask for assistance from the public in providing information that may support us in continuing to prevent crime and arresting those individuals or gangs that carry out offences within rural communities.”
There are a few simple steps that can be taken to help protect plant machinery and reduce the chances of them being stolen:
– As a precaution disable plant machinery at the end of the day.
– Remove ignition keys when plant is unattended and don’t leave them under the seat!
– Make sure plant can’t be started when it is not in use.
– Use all security devices supplied with the plant to secure it overnight.
– Cut off electricity to equipment that could be used to help someone steal the plant.
– Ensure all small tools and equipment is stored in a high security cabinet or enclosure.
– Restrict access to your yard, the fewer ways in the better, use locked gates or security posts if practicable.
– Fit alarms to tool sheds, consider installing CCTV to yards and vulnerable areas, remember, technology complements good security, it doesn’t replace it.
– Identify items as yours, engrave your postcode and house number on smaller tools etc.
Anyone with any information should contact their local police on 101 or alternatively, if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.