Occasionally, we hear of machinery being stolen or vandalised. Considering the value of some of the machinery in the industry it is hardly surprising that there are some villains prepared to take a risk. However, a recent experience of one of our members, posted on our Message Board, is particularly disturbing not least because of the actions of the local police which resulted in additional costs being incurred.
"Just a little reminder to all of you out there with either your own or Hired in Plant and Machinery. We delivered our 3 t Digger and Trelleborged Dumper to a Golf Course in Kent as we would normally do, parking carefully in view but on the course, as it not practical to track out to the compound area.
General course location being fairly secluded it is as secure as could be. All security devices attached/armed, no keys, bucket in the skip so both machines tie each other down.
Between around 9.00pm and 6.30am the Dumper controls TOTALLY trashed as they attempt to hotwire; Digger door lock trashed, ignition ripped out and trakback key chiselled off, floor Panels JEMMIED up and SAT ALARM located and ripped out, machine started but boom lock works so they have to remove Tilt Bucket (left behind in Dumper Skip) and Quick Hitch (Taken) to move machine.
This all discovered the next morning and we actually find our Digger 2 miles down the road. I should be relieved at this point but the local 'Itinerent' Liaison Team have our machine under surveillence and will not let us recover it (we could have tracked it to the site let alone picked it up) as they have been waiting for an opportunity like this for ages. Unfortunately the local travellers can spot a pair of shiny boots hiding in a tree from about 3 miles away so it is not collected.
We however are not allowed our machine back until forensics go over the machine. Fine you might think, but no. This involves paying for the machine to be collected by a lorry @ £325, delivered to UPMINSTER!!!! not in Kent strangely, Toll cost and 4 days Storage?? @ £80, Charged a further £105 'FEE' not TAX on behalf of Kent Police, as well as having to pay to collect by our own transport.
How do I feel? Well, we probably should have fenced the machines off, but it would not have stopped this lot as they went to a lot of effort when most machines could have been just tracked off if the right key was had, although my Insurance might not view it that way. Glad I wasted a grand on a Tracking Alarm System that was ripped out along with probably around another £1500 of panels and wires and which was as much use as a chocolate fire guard laid on the floor in pieces. Can't wait for the bill for a new Loom, Ignition, Controls and Dash for a 6t Dumper, around another 1K if I am lucky, and £800 of newly refurbished Quickhitch which is still missing.
What really hurts though is the £750 it has cost me to have the privilige of having my machine impounded, taken out of the County at great expense so it can be checked over, when the Police were probably watching them nick it in the first place as they knew where it was stashed far too quickly.
The moral at the end of this: If they want it they will steal it. Do all you can to slow the Basts up. If it is found don't let the police con you into doing the right thing, get it back to YOUR secure storage. And if any one is offerred a cheap 3t mini Quickhitch please let me know. Evenin all."
At Pitchcare we would like to take some action to try and support members who's machinery has been stolen. Would an online register of stolen machinery be helpful? Or is there some other way to help? Let us know and we will do all that we can.