Post Lockdown Construction Site Theft Continues to Surge in 2021

By Farsight Security
30 Sep 2021 6 min read


The shortage of new plant equipment and long lead times is pushing up demand for second hand machinery. This demand makes this type of equipment even ore attractive for unscrupulous thieves targeting the construction sector, which already saw a 50% increase in crime last year. Adequate construction site security is crucial, is it time to rethink your site security?

Construction Enquirer recently published an article called ‘Construction plant shortages start to bite’, highlighting the knock-on effects of the Covid pandemic that the construction industry is facing. Contractors and plant hirers are struggling to secure new kit as the industry tries to gear up to lead the recovery following the Government’s stimulus package – a 130%  super deduction tax break scheme for firms buying new plant equipment in the next two years.

However, due to the effects of lockdown on production, steel shortages and high global demand for construction equipment, manufacturers are now said to be quoting 2022 delivery dates. The article cites a regional civils business boss as saying,

“It’s gone mad. Good condition second hand machines are now selling for more than they were bought for a year ago.”

Construction site thefts reported to police since April 2021

The direct correlation between the demand for construction plant machinery and a continued rise in construction site theft incidents is hard to ignore.  Looking at the news media since April   alone, reveals a raft of reported construction site theft incidents like these:

  • Thieves raid building site across the road from Lincolnshire Police headquarters August 2021 – Lincolnshire Live
  • Builders unable to work after thieves steal JCB digger from Southampton building site , July 2021 Nottingham Post
  • £100k worth of tools, machinery and materials were stolen from a building site in Cambridge, 25th June Ely Standard
  • Between April 24 and 26 power tools were stolen from a building site on Horsemere Green Lane in Clyming –  Chichester Observer on 5th May 2021
  • A large number of power tools including nail guns, drills and grinders were stolen from a building site in Broadstairs, Kent between 5pm on Thursday 22 April and 7.50am the following morning – The Isle of Thanet News
  • A Kubota G21 E LD  ride-on mower and Indespension FTL27105Y trailer were stolen from an agricultural and construction business in Maud, Aberdeenshire at around 8.40pm on Tuesday 11th May – The Press and Journal
  • Staffordshire Police have launched an appeal after a Doosan digger valued at £21,000 and an Indespension trailer worth £2,4000 were stolen from a construction business. The thefts occurred between 5pm on April 30 and 6.50am on May 4th –  Stoke Sentinel
  • May 1st – Construction roller thefts in Flintshire spark police warning  – The Leader
  • A pneumatic hydraulic breaker was stolen from a building site at Lockerbie between 3.40pm on 3rd May and 7am on May 4th – News & Star with The Cumberland News.

Business are impacted by the latest rime surges across the board, not just the construction sector

The crime surge however, is just limited to just the construction sector. Since April reported crime rates have rocketed as the below figures showing Reported crimes April-July 2021 show:

reported crime stats July 2021

Reported burglaries between April and July 2021 reached 68,013. In April there were 3,681 reported robberies rising to 4,214 in July.  This puts the total amount of recorded robberies at 15,862 between April and July 2021.

Vehicle related crime also shot up  between April and July with 90,084 vehicle crime incidents reported across England, Wales and Northern Ireland by UKCrimeStats. What is very concerning too is the rise in violent crimes during the same period with a staggering 659,509 incidents being reported.

> Read the full article on the surge in reported crimes since April 2021 

How can construction site theft be reduced?

There is no doubt that theft is an ongoing issue within the industry and construction site theft continues to increase in its likelihood. UK Construction Media recently stated,

“Despite warnings and growing crime rates, owners of construction sites and tradesmen leave themselves vulnerable as they do not do enough to protects their businesses.”

Indeed, many construction businesses do leave themselves vulnerable as the above small selection of reported incidents from across the UK indicate.  These echo a recent survey by the Chartered Institute of Building that revealed 92% of respondents were directly affected by petty crime, with 21% stating that their construction sites were robbed on a weekly basis.

Construction site theft costs the industry £ millions every year, with not only the equipment replacement costs to consider, but also loss of productivity and contract delays, interim plant hire fees and potentially increased insurance costs too.  Optimising the security measures put in place on a construction site is crucial and investment of resources in this will always be recouped in the long run.

There are many security measures that can be considered, including ensuring that unauthorised access to the site is limited with perimeter controls such as fencing, signage, access control and monitored CCTV surveillance.

Farsight has produced a handy guide that may help to ensure that you have all the bases covered…‘Comprehensive Guide to Construction Site Security’

Guide to Construction Site Security

> To read this guide click here

Optimise your construction  site security with Farsight remote CCTV monitoring

security monitoring


Effective CCTV monitoring has become a crucial element to consider when optimising businesses security to protect premises, assets and people. So, how does remote CCTV monitoring work?

In our experience, by combining CCTV monitoring with live, proactive audio warnings can be particularly effective in deterring farm security incidents before they progress. In fact, during 2020 Farsight CCTV operators issued a mammoth 119,901 audio deterrent warnings and progressed almost 10,000 incidents to blue light services demonstrating a proactive security deterrent approach rather than a retrospective one.

As a leading UK based remote monitoring station, Farsight works with security systems installers and business sites across the construction sector to help protect their premises, assets and people with our range of security monitoring services.  Our services Include:

We can help to protect what’s yours from theft, fire or malicious damage… we’d love to see how we can work with you to optimise your farm security…contact us below:

Further information

Of course it is not only intrusion for theft that site owners have to mitigate against, vandalism and ‘other’ reasons for unauthorised entry to construction sites should also be considered.  One ‘other’ reason in particular and one that is becoming all too common is so called ‘urban exploration’. Increasingly, groups of intruders are gaining access to construction sites across the country to perform stunts to share on social media, which is very dangerous and can cause damage and disruption to any site.

Urban Explorers on building sites

> Read more about Construction Site Urban Explorers here


Related Topics:

You may also be interested in
CCTV and Alarm Monitoring specialists

Our awards and acceditations

Award title
Award title
Award title
Award title