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Hire companies warned over thefts

A sharp increase in the theft of high-value construction equipment has prompted the Metropolitan Police to warn hire companies to be on the lookout for so-called ‘deception thieves’.

The Met’s Plant & Agricultural National Intelligence Unit many businesses had been tricked by criminals who had taken out insurance policies in the name of fake companies, the aim being to hire as much equipment as possible within a short period of time. Once delivered, it, along with the company, is moved on and never seen again.

PANIU said companies hiring out equipment should carry out all possible checks on new customers, revealing that a number of hire firms had had their claims rejected after insurers discovered that very few or no due diligence checks were carried out prior to the hiring out the equipment.

The unit also revealed it was investigating a number of suspect companies, including one involving an individual using the name of Matthew Wheatley and a bogus company called Site Tec UK.