And finally… The ‘inside job’ still a major cause of building site thefts

Power tools have topped the list as the most stolen item from building sites in 2015, a new survey has revealed.

A national security equipment installation and servicing company has found that smaller, easy-to-fence items are more likely to be stolen, but there are still significant numbers of thefts of large plant and machinery.

Yorkshire-based said that while site and contractor van security has improved greatly in recent years, the “inside job” is still one of the major risks to any building site.

The company surveyed 75 building firms, from large companies down to sole traders, and found that the ten most stolen items in 2015 were:

  1. Power tools
  2. Bags of cement
  3. Ladders

  4. Plant machinery
  5. Wheelbarrows
  6. Building materials and other supplies
  7. Cable

  8. Metals
  9. Personal items - radios, phones, cash
  10. Hand tools

  11. Company spokesperson Jonathan Ratcliffe said power tools are far and away the most vulnerable item because they have a high resale value, and they’re usually very portable. Such is the specialised nature of the stolen goods, they can only be resold to rogue traders looking to equip themselves cheaply and with little care to the crime victims in their own profession.

    “A determined gang of thieves can steal thousands of pounds worth of decent quality gear from a single trader and put him out of a job for months,” he says. “Even taking every precaution to safeguard your property, it only takes a minute with your guard down for your livelihood to be taken away.

    “Buying stolen professional tools on the quiet isn’t a victimless crime.”

    While targeted theft from contractors is a major problem, the biggest proportion of construction industry crime comes from theft of supplies, materials and plant from building sites. Unfortunately, no site manager can rule out the risk of the “inside job”, says.

    “Only a proportion of this kind of activity is ‘dead of night’ thieving,” Ratcliffe says, “Instead building sites haemorrhage material through petty theft and stealing-to-order.”

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