CONSTRUCTION sites across Worcestershire have fallen prey to thieves with 462 such thefts worth more than £327,000 reported across West Mercia in a year.

Freedom of Information requests were submitted to 27 police forces, including West Mercia, about thefts at construction sites.

The FOI requests, submitted by Mobile Mini, a company which provides mobile storage solutions, revealed that there were 462 thefts across the West Mercia force area between September 2012 and September 2013. In total £327,803 worth of items were taken, including generators, fuel containers, toolboxes, tools like screwdrivers, angle grinders, nail guns, chainsaws and cutters, metal such as lead flashing, padlocks, chains, guttering, batteries, engines and vehicle parts, doors, gates, scaffolding, diesel, oil, cookers, bathroom fixtures, cameras, concrete mixers and computer hardware.

Some of the thefts were extremely high value, including £5,000 worth of cables, wires and sockets, a compressor worth £5,378, diesel worth £1,000 and a rammer worth £8,000.

Over the same period, construction sites in the UK were subject to more than 6,000 thefts with force was used in more than a third of cases (35 per cent). 21 per cent were in sites left unsecured. Plant equipment was commonly targeted, along with metals and tools

A West Mercia Police spokesman said: “Most of the larger developers are aware of the vulnerability of the sites and equipment and therefore use steel containers to store tools/equipment. Once the building shell is complete, as electrical cable and kitchen boilers etc are being fitted, they usually employ a security firm.

“On small scale sites we encourage workers to remove all tools from the site at night and, also, not to leave them in their vans on the roadside. If they do, where possible, we suggest they back the van up on to their driveway next to the house.

“They should make sure their vehicle is alarmed and we can supply stick on signage for vehicles saying ‘all valuables have been removed’.

“We encourage workers to keep serial numbers of power tools and where possible mark their equipment clearly. This can be done by engraving, using a stamp or mark so that it is easily identifiable. So even if the offender has removed serial numbers, the victim would be able to identify their tools with their unique markings. SmartWater products are another option.”

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