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000890 - CITS Conference 23/11/09 13:35 Page 1
EXECUTIVE
REPORT
Datatag’s Cesar scheme can help
reduce plant theft.
Protect your plant
Alan Guthrie reports from the fifth annual CITS
Conference which discussed solutions to the problem of plant theft.
Estimates suggest that plant theft costs the construction industry a contractor, which checked out without suspicion, and equipment
between £500m and £900m annually, taking into account factors was hired to the enquirer. It was only some time later, when the real
such as man hours spent sourcing replacement machines and the company rang to query the purchase number quoted on the invoice,
consequential project delays. Speakers at the CITS (Construction that the scam was detected. Again, machines could be tracked if
Industry Theft Solutions) Conference, hosted recently by JCB at its appropriate devices were fitted. Hirers and users could also adopt
Rocester headquarters, highlighted the scale and nature of the preventative measures like painting equipment in strikingly
problem, and various preventative measures. CITS aims to raise recognisable liveries, using immobilisers, and parking machines
awareness of the risks amongst equipment owners and users, overnight in places with restricted access.
and includes representatives from the police, manufacturers,
associations like the CPA, and security system suppliers. William Todd, EHS (Environmental, Health & Safety) Compliance
Manager with A-Plant, described the success the hirer had found
Hugh Edeleanu, CEO of HE Services (Plant Hire) Ltd, which offers after introducing its A-Trak tracking and security system, developed
more than 2,500 fleet items from 12 depots nationwide, said that the by Enigma Vehicle Systems. This is fitted to 60% of A-Plant’s fleet,
problem of theft continued to grow and he described various types including mini excavators, telehandlers, dumpers, compressors and
of loss his company had experienced. While opportunist theft generators. It has given a recovery rate of 95% compared to an
seemed to be in decline, such as the unauthorised removal of approximate industry average of 5-10%. Customers can track hired
equipment left by a roadside, planned theft was still a problem, equipment via A-Plant’s extranet site, and if unauthorised use is
with criminals becoming smarter. In many cases, stolen equipment is detected, machines can be immobilised via a mobile phone.
moved to a location not far where it was taken, and the thief will wait The system can send an alert if equipment goes outside a defined
to see if anyone comes to recover it via a tracking system. If not, zone, and the location and distance covered by machines over a
they remove the machine to a more distant site. This shows the period can also be displayed on a map, together with levels of
advantage of fitting such recovery aids. fuel, oil and battery condition, enabling customers to control their
carbon footprint.
‘Scams’ on the increase
Fraudelent hires or ‘scams’ were also increasing, said Hugh Detective Constable Ian Elliott, from the Metropolitan Police’s Plant
Edeleanu, such as thieves who hire equipment using the identity and and Agricultural National Intelligence Unit, said that the recovery rate
details of bona fide organisations. In one instance, someone had of stolen machines was improving, helped by the ‘cleansing’ of the
rung to open an account giving the address and corporate details of central database of recorded equipment theft to ensure accurate
manufacturer details and model specifications were in place to
facilitate computer searches. This was also circulated to the Serious
Organised Crime Agency and Interpol. Recovery rates were also
being helped through the wider adoption of Cesar, the covert and
overt identification and registration system developed by Datatag for
the Plant Theft Action Group (PTAG), a Home Office advisory body.
Rigorous systems and procedures
DC Elliott stated that crime invariably increases during a recession,
and that equipment owners must be vigilant. He reiterated the point
that scams involving unauthorised use of genuine companies’
identities and details were increasing, and suggested that hirers
should confirm purchase order numbers with an organisation’s head
office, as well as establishing other rigorous systems and
administrative procedures. He added that the Cesar system helped
A-Plant reports that its A-Trak system has given an equipment recovery rate of 95%. recover equipment because it was becoming more widely known
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