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Construction Watch Scotland launched after thieves steal more than £500,000 worth of equipment in one month

Construction Watch Scotland aims to deter thieves from targeting building sites across the country.
Construction Watch Scotland aims to deter thieves from targeting building sites across the country.

A new scheme to crackdown on thieves targeting construction equipment and fuel has been rolled out across Scotland.

In February alone, almost £500,000 worth of equipment was stolen, with the north-east among the most targeted areas.

Thieves also stole more than £11,000 of stored fuel from homes, small businesses and larger estates across the country last month.

Now Police Scotland has teamed up with Neighbourhood Watch Scotland to launch a new alert system that will help alert authorities to the areas the thieves are working in.

By signing up for Construction Watch Scotland, people can be advised of any suspicious activity in their area to allow them to secure their property.

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.

‘Make construction sites as uninviting as possible’

“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.”

Similar alert systems are in place through Rural Watch Scotland and Neighbourhood Watch Scotland.

Earlier this month, a hydraulic crane arm worth £8,000 was taken from a building site in Aberdeen while eight catalytic convertors were allegedly stolen from an Inverurie garage.

With fuel prices on the rise, police estimate around 3,000 litres was stolen from Banff, Buckie, Fintray, Johnshaven, Laurencekirk, Turriff and St Cyrus over a six-week period.

Just this week a large quantity of fuel was stolen in Delny, Easter Ross.

It prompted Highlands and Islands Police Division to offer homeowners some advice on keeping their fuel safe, such as regularly checking levels in the tanker, locking gates, hiding oil tankers behind plant shrubs and installing automatic movement sensors.

Even hospitality businesses have been targeted, with crooks stealing cooking oil and selling it on to be used as vehicle fuel. 

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