Construction sites, farms and agricultural businesses typically have high-value assets such as machinery, vehicles, tools, and equipment stored on site, and they are also often situated in remote and/or rural locations. This makes them very easy targets for criminal gangs and opportunistic thieves who are, thanks to the cost-of-living crisis, becoming more active and increasingly reckless in their criminal pursuits. The cost of rural crime last year was up by £9m, an increase of 22% on 2022 figures, largely due to the huge rise in machinery theft. Thefts from construction sites are reported to cost the industry well over £800 million a year.
These statistics are alarming, but perhaps not unsurprising given the current economic climate in the UK. Brexit, the pandemic, extreme weather events and the war in Ukraine have resulted in a shortage of construction workers on site, ongoing supply chain issues, delays to projects and hefty increases to the costs of materials and equipment. This means that expensive tools and machinery are not always in constant use, they’re on sites for longer periods of time, and are less secure because sites are not as busy.
Taking all of this into account, it’s easy to see why plant theft is on the rise. However, there are some easy steps you can take now to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of plant theft, and we’ve detailed five of them below.