Plant worth £500,000 stolen in construction firm fraud

Police are appealing for help to find fake contractors that scammed £500,000 of plant from a hire company in Surrey last month.

Surrey Police said that the thefts took place on the mornings of 14, 18 and 21 January. The plant machinery items were dropped off by a delivery company to addresses in Shepperton, Chertsey and Virginia Water.

When the delivery company followed up with the legitimate groundworks contractor they thought they were delivering to, they found they had no knowledge of the order. The fraudsters had used their details to secure delivery to the sites, then taken the items away.

The machinery stolen included a three-tonne dumper swivel, a three-tonne hydraulic breaker, four ditching buckets, four loading buckets, and a 17-tonne excavator worth £185,000.

Surrey Police said in a statement: “Many of these items have the seller’s identifying marks. If you can help us identify these men or locate the stolen property, we want to hear from you. We’re also interested in viewing any helmet or dashcam footage that may have captured these items being transported once they had been delivered.”

Police have released pictures of the stolen items and of two men (pictured, above) they want to speak to in connection with the incident. Anyone with information is asked to contact Surrey Police quoting the reference PR/45220009947.

Last week, the North East Business Resilience Centre warned contractors that fraudsters were becoming more sophisticated and that companies should look out for fake invoices.

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