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18 October 2006 PR 06/119

Helping to halt the trade of stolen construction equipment

Guidelines on how to prevent the theft of construction equipment by international thieves and terrorists have been drawn up by Loughborough University.

The document, entitled ‘Plant and Equipment Theft: A Practical Guide’, has been welcomed and supported by the Government’s Plant Theft Action Group (PTAG). The national body is made up of representatives from industry, the Metropolitan Police Force and Home Office officials. Its primary aim is to reduce mobile construction equipment and machinery theft, and halt the growth in networks of professional international thieves and terrorists.

Dr David Edwards and Dr Gary Holt, from the University’s Department of Civil and Building Engineering, worked with former Loughborough construction engineering and management student, Richard Carmichael on the publication. It is the first comprehensive guide on plant theft prevention and recovery technologies.

Dr Edwards, who is the only academic member of the PTAG, said: “The cost of plant theft to industry is estimated at £100 million per year, and it is a growing problem. This is why the PTAG felt it was important to raise awareness of this issue and provide some advice on how to prevent it from happening.

“Terrorist cells who want to raise capital cannot readily steal cars but stealing a 20 tonne excavator can be relatively straightforward. As well as being easy to steal, machinery can also be transported away for sale without too much difficulty. Thieves regard plant theft as a low-risk, high-gain activity, the profit from resale being far more lucrative than cars - with medium range excavators selling for up to £100,000.

“Our world and society have changed significantly in recent years and so we have to adapt to the new challenges we face. The risks involved in buying second-hand plant are significant since buyers may be inadvertently funding professional criminals or terrorist activities. If someone offers you something that is too good to be true, it probably is.”

Kevin Clancy, managing director of the leading construction and civil engineering company, Clancy Docwra, and Chairman of PTAG said: “This is an excellent publication produced by a first class University and leading international academics.

“Dr Edwards’ on-going contribution to reducing plant theft will be significant and his presence as the sole academic on the PTAG working group is very much appreciated and valued. Plant theft is a major problem that must now be taken seriously if the risks are to be minimised.”

Dr Edwards added that he would like to acknowledge the major contribution that student Richard Carmichael made to the guidance document. “It is an amazing achievement for an undergraduate student to make and indicative of the quality of lecturing and student support across the University,” he said.

“Industry has noticed that Loughborough graduates are high performers; this latest publication can only serve to reinforce that opinion.”

The next PTAG meeting is being held at the University’s Department of Civil and Building Engineering on November 14. An introductory speech will be given by Professor Simon Austin.

ENDS

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Notes to editors

  1. Michael Clancy formed M.J.Clancy & Sons Limited in 1958. Originally based in Wembley, the company undertook groundworks, drainage and roadworks in and around London. Over the following fifteen years the business grew and expanded into tunnelling and associated works. During the 1990’s growth had taken turnover from £30m pa to £100m pa. From the original strong base in the water sector, the company now has a significant presence in the gas, electricity, rail, highways, new-build and refurbishment sectors. Today turnover is estimated to be circa £200m pa.
  2. Clancy Docwra has established itself as one of the leading construction and civil engineering companies, particularly in the utilities sector. It is recognised for outstanding client service, the quality of its work and commitment to Health and Safety.
  3. Loughborough has an established reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry, and unrivalled sporting achievement. Assessments of teaching quality by the Quality Assurance Agency place it in the top flight of UK universities; the National Student Survey ranked Loughborough equal first among full-time students; and industry highlights the University in its top five for graduate recruitment. Around 40% of Loughborough’s income is for research, and 60% for teaching. The University has been awarded five Queen's Anniversary Prizes: for its collaboration with aerospace and automotive companies such as BAE Systems, Ford and Rolls Royce; for its work in developing countries; for pioneering research in optical engineering; for its world-leading role in sports research, education and development; and for its outstanding work in evaluating and helping to develop social policy-related programmes.

    In 2006 Loughborough celebrates the 40th anniversary of its University Charter, awarded on 19 April 1966 in recognition of the excellence achieved by Loughborough College of Advanced Technology and its predecessor Colleges. Loughborough University of Technology was renamed Loughborough University in 1996.

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