Police launch online platform to tackle surge in fuel thefts

Police revealed that over £11,000 worth of stored fuel was stolen across Scotland last month.

Police launch Construction Watch Scotland to tackle surge in fuel and tool thefts iStock

Police Scotland have launched a new online platform to tackle a surge in fuel thefts and thefts from construction sites.

Construction Watch Scotland was launched on Wednesday following a rise in the thefts of plant equipment, tools and stored fuel.

The new online platform will allow for quick release of information to trade industries and police of any criminal or suspicious activity at construction sites.

It comes after new information revealed £11,000 worth of stored fuel had been stolen in February, while almost half a million pounds worth of equipment had been stolen across the country.

Police Scotland said the new platform, which was created in partnership with Neighbourhood Watch Scotland, will address construction and trade crime.

Inspector Alan Dron from the National Rural and Acquisitive Crime Unit said: “We know that plant equipment, tools and fuel stores are often an attractive target for criminals, as they are of high value when selling on.

“Often site or vehicle security is breached during hours of darkness when there are very few potential witnesses, making it easier to make off with these items.

“The Construction Watch Scotland scheme allows those who are signed up to quickly be advised of offences or suspicious activity in their area, while recommending specific prevention measures that could be taken.

“Not only do we hope this will enhance our intelligence picture when investigating these incidents, but we are also looking to reduce the number of crimes occurring, with our ability to share information and make construction sites as uninviting as possible to serve as a deterrent.

“We’ve already seen the successful application of the ALERT platform through Rural Watch Scotland and Neighbourhood Watch Scotland and I’m confident Construction Watch Scotland will be of similar value in addressing construction and trade acquisitive crime.”

A spokesperson for Campion Homes added: “We have very recently had some very bad experience on our sites, in particular, one in Dundee.

“Over the course of a few nights youths entered our site and caused considerable damage to both our teleporter and static mobile crane, they also vandalised numerous components breaking many panes of class in the process.

“The machinery was out of use for a number of days which resulted in down time for both our company and local tradesmen. We almost lost the tradesmen because their morale was at rock bottom and thankfully we convinced them to stay and proceed with works on site.

“Construction Watch Scotland aims to prevent these incidents occurring, but if they do, then to ensure other sites aren’t similarly targeted and hopefully making sure those responsible are caught by the police.”

A CCG Contracts Division spokesperson, said: “Recently we had two youths enter a large project, having got past the security cameras and entering a flatted block under construction.

“They set fire to some waste material, which in turn, ended with the block being totally fire damaged resulting in an insurance cost of approximately £1m.

“CCTV footage shows that they were in and out in just about five minutes. Thankfully, they have been convicted.

“It only takes a minute for these crimes to occur and the impact on companies like ourselves can be devastating. That’s why we openly welcome the introduction of the new ALERT platform, Construction Watch Scotland.”

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