Shropshire Star

Spike in diesel fuel thefts from farm and plant machinery in Shropshire

A spike in reports of fuel being stolen from farm tractors and plant machinery has prompted a police warning.

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In one incident reported to police in the Bishop's Castle area a mini digger being used for roadworks near Worthen had diesel and its battery stolen.

A spokesman for the safer neighbourhood team in the south west Shropshire town said: "The last month has seen a spike in reports of fuel thefts from farm tractors and plant machinery.

"All the thefts occurred over weekends during the hours of darkness.

"Social media posts also indicate that machinery over the Powys border in Forden have also been attacked. Farm fuel tanks, machinery and tractors can be vulnerable to fuel theft."

In the team's March newsletter to residents the safer neighbourhood team said a mini digger being used for roadworks near Worthen had been targeted along with its battery. It had been parked on the side of road for local roadworks at Rea Bridge, Worthen between March 4 and March 6.

A few days later a tractor and an excavator at a farm in Snailbeach had diesel siphoned from the tanks. The equipment has been parked on a farm yard overnight on March 11 and 12.

Police have issued advice along with their crime reports.

They say owners should, where possible, keep tractors and powered machinery locked and out of sight from roads and footpaths when not in use to prevent thieves draining fuel tanks. Locking fuel tank caps can be fitted. Farmyard gates can be closed and locked and exit points blocked.

They add that intruder alarms and security lighting can also be fitted.

Owners can check fuel gauges to check for irregularities in fuel levels.

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