THREE men were arrested during raids by police investigating the theft of plant machinery.
The men, who are aged, 40, 40 and 56, were arrested after a series of raids in Burnley, Rossendale and Accrington. They are now being questioned on suspicion of theft, handling stolen goods and money laundering.
More than 40 officers from across Lancashire were involved in the operation which saw warrants executed at properties in Bacup Road, Burnley, New Hall Hey Road, Rawtenstall and Brook Street, Oswaldtwistle, along with houses in Dean Road, Helmshore and Haywood Street, Accrington.
The arrests come after a 10-month investigation by police in Burnley and the force’s Stolen Vehicle Unit, during which officers recovered more than £250,000 of plant machinery and a motorhome.
The items, which include road rollers and excavators, are believed to have been stolen from construction sites and business premises in West Yorkshire and across the country over the past 12 months.
Temporary Det. Sgt Tony Atkins said: “The raids were carried out as part of an on-going investigation into the theft of plant machinery. We take this type of crime incredibly seriously and we work with colleagues from across the country to share information and target those believed to be involved.
“Crimes which affect construction businesses and rural communities such as the theft of plant machinery can be very costly for the victims, affecting them not just personally but also having financial implications that can affect their livelihoods.
“Due to the remote locations of many rural properties and construction sites, it can be easy for residents and workers to develop a false sense of security – so crime prevention is not always their top focus.
“We work very closely with the construction industry, rural communities and farming associations to tackle this type of crime but we need the public to work with us and report anything suspicious to the police.”
Anybody with any information about plant theft should contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.