Its been a long time since we were cleaned out by thieves back in September 2013. We initially struggled financially to replace the equipment and had some extreme paranoia about who was behind it, as it was clearly an intelligence led raid rather than some opportunist snatch and grab. Despite this setback we soon moved on and vowed to not be complacent with security, we quickly set about planning a more robust security regime.
STS has had momentous progressive changes, since our first bitter taste of burglary. With that the consequential evolution of business systems, culture and a formidable security regime.
We leave our equipment tucked up at night cosy and warm in the relative safety of our security arrangements. However, this has little effect on the day to security of equipment out on the work site. Nothing can really help you against the opportunist thief who spots the prize and goes for it.
Unfortunately recently whilst working at Frome one of our teams was hit by such a thief. They were carrying out some roadside works for the Somerset Highways and had parked the van just around the corner in a restaurant car park. They left some equipment in the tool locker after morning break but on their return at lunchtime found the locker door swinging in the wind and discovered that the locker had been cleared out, two chainsaws and one hedge-trimmer missing. After the initial shock of the raid, in broad daylight, on such a busy roadside location and with the team working toward the vehicle. Everybody was stunned by the audacity of the raiders and were absolutely dumbfounded when the realisation of the other theft right under there noses!
Whilst the initial work was carried out by machine with two of the team on traffic management, the third member was following up behind, alternating between brush cutter and chainsaw. Whilst using the brush cutter it appears the thieves snuck up behind our man and took the chainsaw from within arms reach of him! A few lessons were learned that day in terms of how we can minimise the opportunities but I don’t think you can ever defend your self completely from this type of thief, only maintain your guard at all times.
The true stars of the whole episode were Anson Security, who gave us a description of the thieves, the make, model and registration number of the vehicle and within 2 hours had spotted them elsewhere in the town on other CCTV systems! The Police were very disappointing that day and indeed the 11 weeks it took to conclude this investigation, despite the evidence we had very quickly gathered, they had little interest, although I’m hoping it was more lack of resources.
I suppose my real underlying message is that you should have a multi faceted approach to security and don’t depend on anyone part of it solely whether it is part of your organisation or home life, you unfortunately have to be sharp and one step ahead. This can be hard if you want to live in a world where you want to trust and want to be trusted. I must just point out that on the first raid we experienced the Police were with us and fingerprinting within a couple of hours so not all that bad.
One of the things the Police struggle with is prosecuting a suspect when in receipt of stolen goods as the serial numbers are removed or ground off and the Police can’t then prove its stolen or get back to the rightful owner if they can prosecute. So we what can be done? Arbsafe is a free initiative rolled out by the creator of Arbtalk, it is backed by the Police and sponsored by Stihl to make it absolutely free for subscribers. The idea is that you register all of your equipment, list serial numbers, pictures, describe unique markings and features. In the event of something being stolen you can list as such and if it pops up in some undesirable location the Police have better chance of prosecuting and you have better chance of recovering your equipment. Secondly someone buying a saw second hand on eBay or at a car boot can try at least to check if it belongs to someone else and then make a more informed purchase. This is a great system and Steve Bullman the inventor is worthy of some serious kudos, but it will only work well if everybody uses it, so please spread the word, its in everybody’s interest. Please click here for more information.