Association warns of ‘surge’ in site thefts following lockdown

THERE has been a 50% surge in construction site theft since the Covid-19 lockdown, an association has warned.

The Construction Equipment Association (CEA) announced the significant increase in raids on sites and theft of plant equipment and tools, despite overall crime rates falling by 40% since March.

Construction site theft was an ongoing problem prior to the lockdown, with the Chartered Institute of Building (CIB) estimating it costing the industry £800 million per year. A survey carried out by CIB, prior to the lockdown, found that 92% of respondents had been affected by theft.

Simon Oakley, operations director at Biosite Security Ltd, commented “Establishing effective site security is critical at all times but with the recent increase in incidents of construction-related crime, it is clear that opportunistic criminals are targeting sites in shutdown.

“The construction industry has needed to respond rapidly to advice led by government and industry bodies to ensure sites are safe for operatives, which has meant in many cases sites have been scaled back or entered shutdown much quicker than they would normally be, leaving valuable plant equipment that is a temptation to thieves.

“It is essential that these assets are removed when possible or protected with adequate security measures, such as manned guarding, mobile patrol units or CCTV, to establish control over the situation and to ensure essential police resources are not being diverted during the COVID-19 relief effort.”