[P]EOPLE involved in the theft of plant machinery had better think again now more officers have been trained to spot stolen or cloned plant machinery.
Officers from across Lancashire have been on a special training course designed to help them recognise tell-tale signs that might indicate a piece of machinery is stolen.
The training, organised by the Constabulary, took place on site at Wilson’s Farming in Samlesbury which was very kindly offered as the venue by owner, Harry Wilson. Various machines including tractors, excavators and tandem rollers were available for the officers to examine so they know what to look for when they come across vehicles they suspect as being stolen.
Both the practical and the classroom training sessions were led by DC Chris Pigott from the National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (NaVCIS) and Clive Harris from NFU Mutual. Chris and Clive are specialists in this field and deliver this training to police forces across the country.
Lorraine Ellwood, Rural Crime and Wildlife Co-ordinator for the Constabulary said; “It is the first time that we have had training in Lancashire on this scale and it is something we will look to continue doing. It is really important that as many officers as possible are trained in what to look for when they stop vehicles and to be able to recognise tell-tale signs that all might not be as it seems.
“Lancashire is not a soft touch – we have big expanses of rural areas to look after and we are really keen on cracking down on this, we are going to be it making very hard for those criminals insistent on committing this type of crime. We are not sitting back – we are doing something about it.”
DC Chris Pigott from NaVCIS said; “We know that people make money from either exporting the machinery once it has been stolen or selling it on auctioning sites and so we have teams of people who monitor this activity specifically to search for and identify any machinery that has been reported stolen.
“We also do a lot of preventative work; from training like this today, to work with manufactures to help them develop ways of making their machines unique and identifiable which in turn will make it more and more difficult for people to move these machines on when they have been taken.”
Clive Harris from NFU Mutual said; “The more we can get out and do the training, the better. We need to get as many officers and staff trained up to know what to look for as part of their day to day role, this isn’t a specialist, one off ‘event’, we want officers to be constantly vigilant and looking out for anything suspicious.
Harry Wilson, owner of Wilson’s Farming and host for the training said; “We were really happy to accommodate the training as it is beneficial for everyone – it’s really important that we, as people working in agriculture, understand that the police have a job to do and how we can help them to do that by taking preventative measures and doing what we can to keep our equipment secure and identifiable.
“Plant theft in particular has a massive impact – it not only means we have to replace a high value piece of specialised machinery or fuel, plant theft can put our whole livelihoods at risk so it is really important that we all work together to stop it from happening.”