Member Article

Construction sites targeted in more than 6,000 thefts in a single year

Freedom of Information (FOI) requests sent to 27 police forces around the UK have revealed the shocking extent of construction site thefts and their cost to the industry.

A conservative estimate suggests that there were more than 6,000 separate instances of thieves gaining entry to sites and illegally taking tools, materials and plant equipment between September 2012 and September 2013.

Data from the requests, submitted on behalf of secure storage unit supplier Mobile Mini, also uncovered the methods by which thieves are gaining access to supposedly secure sites. The data has been collated in the Mobile Mini Construction Site Theft report.

The figures suggest that thieves used force in around 35 per cent of incidents. A further five per cent were due to “legitimate access” in cases where the thieves either had a key, or turned up to a busy site and took equipment unnoticed.

In 21 per cent of incidents sites were simply left unsecured, or were protected only by a fence that was easily scaled by intruders.

“We were surprised to see that as many as one-fifth of thefts were due to a lack of on-site security and this should act as a wake-up call to many in the industry. The FOI data revealed that criminals are all too prepared to force their way into a secured site too,” said Ron Halchishak, Managing Director at Mobile Mini. “Construction site managers should give careful consideration to their security arrangements and make life as difficult as possible for Britain’s construction site thieves.”

Commonly-stolen items included materials, such as lead and copper piping, and power tools like saws, drills and jackhammers.

Plant equipment, such as cement mixers, diggers and excavators, were also frequent targets of theft. Personal items, such as laptops and mobile phones left by staff, were also stolen by opportunistic thieves.

The figures obtained only represents the value of the goods stolen and the cost of lost working time while expensive equipment is being replaced can easily exceed this.

Some regions emerged as clear hotspots of construction site crime. Devon & Cornwall suffered 372 separate incidents over the course of the year, police in Derbyshire recorded 241 cases and Thames Valley recorded 218.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Mobile Mini .

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