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Thieves foiled in efforts to steal road rollers from A11 project by tracking devices

08:19 03 January 2015

The new dualled A11 opens.

The new dualled A11 opens.

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2013

Thieves targeting three road rollers worth more than £50,000 from the A11 dualling project were foiled when tracking devices were used to trace the vehicles to a shipping container in Yorkshire, it has been revealed.

Items stolen

Data from Norfolk and Suffolk Police shows that thieves mainly targeted the A11 dualling project site to steal diesel from vehicles parked on site.

Other instances of theft included the theft of a battery and a post puncher attachment from a mini digger.

Items stolen include: tools, diesel, battery, post puncher attachment from mini digger.

Of the 10 incidents of theft that took place on the project since 2012, there were no resulting arrests.

Three Bomag tarmac rollers - two of which were worth £20,000 and the other worth £14,000 - were taken overnight on December 17 and 18 last year from the long-awaited project’s construction site near the Forest Retail Park.

While developers Balfour Beatty were left to find the rollers had been taken, the thieves were busy transporting the vehicles to Leeds, just under 170 miles away.

But what they did not know was that two of the rollers were fitted with tracking devices.

The devices allowed police to trace the vehicles to West Yorkshire.

They were then led to a site where all three rollers were found stored away in a shipping container on December 20 - two days after they were stolen.

Unfortunately, there was no trace of the offenders, with police unable to track them down since.

But the vehicles were recovered and returned to the construction site.

The foiled crime was revealed through a Freedom of Information request to Norfolk and Suffolk Police.

The request revealed that the project site was targeted by thieves several times over its two year development, starting in January 2012.

More than 10 offences were committed at the site, all of which were theft.

The majority saw diesel taken from vehicles, but tools and a car battery were also taken in separate incidents.

An attachment for a mini digger was also taken in another incident last June.

In April last year, it was reported that gardeners had been targeting the site to steal special willow fence panels.

Around 15 of the panels, which were used to protect wildlife from the road, were taken.

A spokesman for Norfolk Police said: “Both these vehicles were recovered due to them both having tracker devices fitted. This highlights the importance of taking appropriate security measures in order to be able to trace or identify property should it get stolen.

“In this case the owners were able to have tracking devices fitted, however simple measures such as marking your property will make your valuables less attractive to opportunistic thieves.”

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