CEA and industry allies commit £650,000 to strengthen UK’s fight against machinery theft

The Construction Equipment Association (CEA), together with key industry stakeholders like the Construction Plant-hire Association (CPA) and leading insurance companies such as NFU Mutual, has committed a substantial investment, totalling £650,000 over the next three years, to the UK’s fight against machinery theft.

This significant funding is dedicated to advancing the goals and objectives of the CEA’s CESAR Scheme and allocated to boost the National Rural Crime Unit (NRCU) and the National Construction & Agricultural Theft Team (NCATT).

This collaborative funding initiative represents a strategic approach to tackle the escalating issue of equipment theft, which not only affects individual businesses but also has broader implications for the UK’s economy and infrastructure development.

As the longstanding custodian of this police fund, the CEA recognises the importance of collaborative efforts in this area. CEA CEO Suneeta Johal commented on the initiative, stating, “The escalating issue of machinery theft across our country not only disrupts the operational efficiency of businesses but also poses a significant threat to the broader construction sector and rural communities. The allocated funds are dedicated to advancing the goals and objectives of the CESAR Scheme, significantly enhancing its capabilities in combating the theft of plant machinery and agricultural equipment.

Our forthcoming financial contribution to the NRCU and NCATT, set to be formally announced in January, reflects our commitment to safeguarding the industry’s assets and its future. We are confident that this concerted effort will lead to substantial progress in curbing criminal activities related to equipment theft.”

Johal also stressed the need for ongoing support and collaboration with governmental bodies to effectively address this pervasive challenge. “Maintaining a strong, united front against such criminal activities is imperative. Our contribution signifies our resolve to protect the industry, and we trust that our collective efforts will result in a safer, more secure operating environment for all involved,” she added.


This move by the CEA and its partners underlines a shared understanding of the critical need for enhanced security measures and proactive initiatives to tackle the growing problem of machinery theft in the UK.

Among these significant investments and collaborations, the key role of the CEA’s CESAR Scheme, delivered by Datatag, cannot be overstated. As a proven theft deterrent and an effective recovery tool, the CESAR Scheme has gained recognition from every police force in the UK and, with the introduction of the new RAPID check (Registered Assets Police Information Database), its influence is now global. The CESAR Scheme is viewed as a critical layer of security and protection. The integration of this scheme into the broader strategy illustrates a comprehensive approach to combating machinery theft, reinforcing the industry’s defences and ensuring a safer operational environment for all stakeholders.

In a recent address at the Home Office question time on Monday, 27th of November 2023, Greg Smith MP continued his staunch advocacy against rural crime, particularly focusing on the National Rural Crime Unit (NRCU). His efforts underscore the pressing need for enhanced resources to combat the theft of high-value agricultural equipment. Smith MP queried James Cleverly MP on further steps to empower the NRCU in tackling these sophisticated criminal gangs.

Greg Smith MP stated, “Serious organised acquisitive crime is hitting rural communities hard with high-value agricultural equipment targeted for theft. Recently, the National Rural Crime unit has recovered over £5m of stolen equipment, nearly £1m of which was recovered abroad. The Construction Plant Hire Association, NFU Mutual, and The Construction Equipment Association have put significant funds into the NRCU, but what more can my Right Honourable Friend (James Cleverly MP) do to ensure the National Rural Crime Unit has the resources they need to tackle these serious organised criminal gangs?”

Responding to Smith MP’s concerns, James Cleverly MP acknowledged the significance of the issue and the need for continued support for rural communities. He said, “I thank my Rt Honourable Friend (Greg Smith MP) for the work that he’s done in this area, including his private member’s bill. He’s absolutely right that the rural communities of this country need to be supported, and they will be. Driving down rural crime is an important area of work. We provided £200,000 of funding to help set up the National Crime Rural Crime Unit. I and he and others in this House understand the terrible impact this has, and we will continue to work with the rural police forces to drive down this issue.”

Johal concluded, “The recent statements from Members of Parliament resonate perfectly with our proactive approach at the CEA, alongside the CPA and NFU Mutual. Our role in managing the police fund, marked by significant contributions to the NRCU and NCATT, reflects our industry’s dedication to tackling machinery theft. This collaboration between key industry bodies and government initiatives represents a comprehensive strategy, not just in protecting the construction and agricultural sectors but in safeguarding the broader rural communities across the UK. It’s a testament to our collective commitment to addressing these challenges head-on.”

Source: CEA (Construction Equipment Association) News