UK-based rental company Hewden has helped police track down a stolen breaker thanks to its latest investment in GPS attachment trackers.

On 26 August, the company received a report from specialist retail and forecourt construction contractor, Williams Southern, that a new hydraulic breaker had been stolen from its site in Southampton.

Fortunately for the contractor, the breaker was part of a £1 million (€1.4 million) range recently introduced by Hewden, which, in an industry first, came fitted with GPS trackers.

“As soon as we became aware of the breaker being stolen, we immediately contacted Hewden to advise,” said Matthew Easterbrook, senior buyer at Williams Southern.

“I was pleased to be informed that the breaker had a tracker fitted and that Hewden was confident of recovery,”

The team at Hewden then informed tracking company, Automatrics.

Along with a local detection officer, Automatrics was able to trace the signal on the stolen attachment to a nearby vehicle. Police were alerted and within six hours the breaker attachment was recovered.

“Plant theft, although thankfully on the decline, is still a major problem for contractors like ourselves” added Mr Easterbrook.

“Without the tracking system fitted to this Hewden breaker, we would have experienced a fair bit of disruption on the site, in addition to the burden of insurance claims and unwanted charges. Instead, we were able to quickly get back to work and leave the rest to the police.”

Hewden estimates that reported attachment theft alone could be costing the industry more than €1.4 million per year, and is calling on rental companies to follow suit and make trackers standard on all future attachment equipment.

“A lot has been done to safeguard plant equipment but very few are looking at the issue of attachment theft,” said Alex Gadd, attachments manager at Hewden.

“We were the first in the industry to introduce tracking devices on all our breakers. But more needs to be done and until we’re able to stop the problem completely, the best we can do is deter criminals and help locate the equipment,” he added.

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