Perth event will offer advice on how to avoid plant and fuel theft

AN event aimed at tackling plant and fuel theft will take place in Perth this week, as ‘shocking’ new figures reveal the extent of the challenge the industry faces.

The Scottish Plant Owners Association (SPOA) has been working with Police Scotland’s Rural and Acquisitive Crime Unit since the launch of the Scottish Partnership Against Acquisitive Crime (SPAACE) in May this year.

This week, following numerous events where the team has taken the Police Scotland liveried JCB 3CX all over Scotland, the final information event of the year is taking place at Highland Industrial Supplies in Perth on December 14.

The SPOA highlighted new figures which revealed that acquisitive crime has continued to increase this year. Between April and September 2023, there were 5,178 more crimes compared to the same period last year. Theft of motor vehicles (which covers all mechanically propelled vehicles from a private car to a dump truck) has increased 13.3% in 2022/23 and is up by 11.3% so far for 2023/24.

Between April 2022 and March 2023, theft of agricultural and forestry machinery, plant and quad bike/ATVs was the most frequent crime.

The SPOA said the free information events have been well attended. The biggest fear expressed by plant owners in attendance has been the total loss of an asset, which can not only be costly, but can have significant knock-on impacts if it cannot be replaced quickly, resulting in work being delayed and potentially triggering penalty costs.

Inspector Jordan Low from Police Scotland’s National Rural and Acquisitive Crime Unit said, “The theft of plant equipment and vehicles from rural properties, construction sites or other locations significantly impacts that business’ operations and can have knock-on effects that are felt by the wider public. There is no such thing as a victimless crime.

“Acquisitive crime overall is experiencing a rise in recorded incidents at present and Police Scotland is committed to working alongside relevant partners to address this increase and prevent further offences arising by empowering rural and construction businesses to consider appropriate security measures on and around their premises.

“I would encourage anyone who is looking to enhance their security provisions, or who is seeking out crime prevention advice, to visit our website at”

Callum Mackintosh, immediate past president who was instrumental in the SPOA’s partnership with SPAACE, added, “Whilst we have had a great response to this initiative, the latest statistics show that there is still a lot of work to do. I’d also like to take this opportunity to stress the importance of reporting theft to the police. The more information available on these crimes the better as it helps the police to spot patterns and encourages plant owners to be extra vigilant.

“The SPOA is grateful to Police Scotland’s Rural and Acquisitive Crime Unit for its support in staffing these information events and providing clear and actionable advice to plant owners. Working closely with Police Scotland has also been beneficial to create better understanding and awareness of the types of machinery used in our industry, which aids detection when items are stolen.

“Once again, we would like to acknowledge and thank JCB and Scot JCB for the loan of the JCB 3CX which has definitely piqued the interest of the general public as well as those in the plant industry with its eye-catching Police Scotland livery. There are more events scheduled in the first half of 2024 and then, together with our partners at SPAACE, we will review activity and seek to build on it going forward.”

The free information event at H.I.S. Perth at Inveralmond Industrial Estate is taking place all day on December 14. Plant owners are encouraged to come along for advice to avoid plant and fuel theft which includes:

  • Property marking measures such as the CESAR scheme
  • Use of The Equipment Register to record and aid the recovery of plant and equipment
  • Tracking devices such as CanTrack
  • GeoFencing using JCB’s Live-Link or similar telematics
  • CCTV and alarm systems
  • What to look out for and how to counteract suspicious behaviours

Ian Young, depot manager at H.I.S. Perth added, “We are looking forward to supporting and facilitating local businesses to tackle plant, fuel and tool theft. Come along and meet the experts who can help.”