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Plant goes in hire con

2nd September 1999
Page 13
Page 13, 2nd September 1999 — Plant goes in hire con
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

• A Forest of Deanbased plant hire company is trying to track down a steel haulier from Essex which may have unwittingly been used to provide a getaway vehicle for the theft of plant worth more than £25,000.

This follows the disappearance of a JCB telescopic handler and a Kubota K035 mini excavator belonging to JR Maddock Plant Hire & Sales, based in Coieford, near Gloucester.

Director Roger Maddock says the saga began when a man calling himself AJ Miles, allegedly from a company called Plant Movements, faxed an order for two weeks' hire of the handler and excavator. Miles asked JR Maddock to deliver both pieces of equipment to an industrial site on the A3079 at Halwill Junction, near Okehampton, Exeter, on 2 August.

But when a Maddock driver arrived at the site, Miles was nowhere to be seen, only a man who said he worked for him. The driver then contacted Miles on his mobile phone about the unpaid hire charges of more than £1,300 and was told that a cheque was being put in the post.

"Needless to say we didn't get it," says Maddock. "This is the first time something like this has happened in 30 years. We were too trusting."

Maddock now thinks the best chance of tracing the equipment is through the haulage firm that picked up the plant from the industrial site. He was told about the haulier's involvement from a full time employee at the industrial site who saw the lorry with the equipment in it being driven off. The driver of the truck had apparently revealed that the company's usual work is hauling steel out of Ebbw Vale and Swansea steel works, although its main office is in Purfieet, near the Dartford Tunnel, in Essex.

"I am 100% certain that the transport company is innocent in all this and that it was simply hired to make the delivery," says Maddock, who has since learnt that the scam was attempted on at least two other occasions at plant hire firms in the Exeter area.

The vehicle used to drive off the plant was a white Renault tractor pulling a blue tilt trailer. A 21,000 reward is being offered for information which might lead JR Maddock to the owner of the vehicle.

Contact: 01594 832530; fax 01594 836973.


People: Roger Maddock, Miles
Locations: Coieford, Exeter, Gloucester

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