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Stolen digger intercepted by police less than an hour after its theft

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These were the dramatic scenes after police tracked and recovered a stolen digger in North Yorkshire.


A man has been arrested on suspicion of theft – and the digger will be returned to its rightful owner.

At about 5.45pm on Monday 1 July 2019, police were called with reports that a digger was being stolen from a building site in the east of York.

Officers from North Yorkshire Police’s response, operational support unit and dog unit teams responded immediately, and a pick-up truck carrying a digger was soon spotted heading south on the A19.

Using tactical pursuit and containment (TPAC) tactics, police ‘boxed in’ vehicle and brought it to a safe stop on the A19 near Selby at 6.20pm. The driver, a 33-year-old man from the Doncaster area, was arrested on suspicion of theft. He was taken into custody, and subsequently released on bail – with conditions not to come back to York.

The digger and pick-up truck were recovered for forensic examination.

Following the theft, police are urging people working at building sites in North Yorkshire, particularly those in isolated or rural areas, to check their security arrangements and be extra vigilant.

PC Rob Davies, of North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Taskforce, said: “By their nature, building sites and compounds are vulnerable and attractive targets for criminals.

“That means it’s really important to take extra security measures. Wherever possible, keep vehicles, plant and power tools in a secure and well-lit area, preferably a garage or outbuilding. Consider CCTV, fuel cap alarms, cages and other security measures.

“Even simple techniques like ‘defensive parking’ – parking vehicles against solid objects on the fuel tank side to prevent access – can have a strong deterrent effect.

“Also, get your property security-marked. Permanent marking, like a ‘dot peen’ mark, will deter thieves, as it makes the equipment far harder to sell on. It will also be much easier for us to return it to its rightful owner if it is lost or stolen, and could provide vital evidence to secure a prosecution.

“The equipment on building sites can be worth many thousands of pounds, which is why it’s so important to keep it safe. We want the message to go out to would-be thieves that targeting sites in North Yorkshire is simply not worth the risk.”

Last modified: July 3, 2019