Stolen machinery worth £130,000 recovered by East Lancashire police in just two weeks 

Officers from the Rossendale rural task force have recovered around £130,000 in stolen machinery over the last couple of weeks. 

The last couple of weeks were extremely fruitful for the officers from the Rossendale rural task force. The team has recovered around £130,000 in stolen machinery. 

Officers not only located an impressive number of stolen pieces of equipment but also came across suspected drug dealers, drink drivers, and drug drivers, with five arrests made in 12 days. 

Photo by Rossendale Police.

On 12th March, the rural task force and stolen vehicle team located a stolen JCB worth approximately £6,000. 

A spokesperson for the Rossendale rural task force said: “Despite efforts having been made by unknown parties over the years to clone / deidentify the machine – our stolen vehicle team were able to identify this as a confirmed stolen machine, which was originally stolen from Colne. 

“Also, on 12th March we stopped a vehicle and searched the driver and vehicle under Sec.23 of the Misuse of Drugs Act. We located Class B drugs in the vehicle, and the driver was dealt with accordingly with the drugs seized.” 

Two dumpers recovered 

The following day, officers stopped and arrested a transit van near Waterfoot, with the driver suspected of being under the influence of alcohol.  

On the same day, March 13th, Rossendale rural task force and Ribble Valley rural task force officers discovered two dumpers that had been recently stolen from Cumbria, worth about £50,000. They had been crudely stuffed into a horse box and were promptly seized.  

On 15th March, the officers were patrolling Helmshore and Ramsbottom due to a recent spate of burglaries in the area. They came across a vehicle being poorly driven on Holcombe Road. 

A rural task force spokesperson said: “After a short time, we sighted a vehicle on Holcombe Road, Helmshore in the early hours of the morning. The driver caught our attention due to his poor manner of driving, because they had no headlights on and because the car smelled so strongly of cannabis.  

“Unfortunately, however the car and its four occupants decided not to stop for us, and a pursuit ensued. This lasted around eight minutes throughout which time the vehicle was driving on the wrong side of the road and swerving violently.  

Photo by Rossendale Police.

“The pursuit was then concluded when our colleagues from Immediate Response were able to deploy a stinger device, which successfully deflated the subject vehicle’s tyres. All four occupants ran from the vehicle, and your RTF officers managed to chase them on foot and soon arrested two for theft of motor vehicle.” 

Stolen plant machinery found 

A few days later, on 19th March, acting on intelligence, rural task force officers visited a property near Rawtenstall. The team recovered a JCB 140X excavator, which been stolen from Bristol three weeks earlier. The machine is worth around £74,000. 

Photo by Rossendale Police.

Further arrests 

On 23rd March, officers noticed a Mercedes being driven on Broadway, Haslingden. Due to its manner of driving and the fact that the vehicle had two flat tyres, they stopped the driver and discovered the female driver smelled strongly of alcohol. 

A spokesperson for the Rossendale rural task force explained: “She then failed a roadside breath test, providing a reading of 82 units, with the legal limit being 35 units. Unfortunately, the bad news didn’t end there, as it soon transpired that the driver was also disqualified from driving until March 2025. She was arrested for drink driving and driving whilst disqualified and also later failed to provide a sample of breath in custody.” 

READ MORE: Video: Police arrest seven men involved in rural crime

READ MORE: Stolen farm equipment worth £80k recovered in Essex

On that same day, officers stopped a Ford Transit that was suspected of being on false plates. The driver was found to have no insurance. He was arrested on suspicion of drink driving. The man later went on to provide an evidential sample of breath in custody, with the lowest reading being 70 units, which is double the limit. 

Photo by Rossendale Police.

Finally, on 24th March, the Rossendale rural task force was patrolling Haslingden when the officers noticed a Volkswagen golf travelling at speed down Hud Rake and onto Roundhill Road. The car was recorded travelling around 20mph above the speed limit. The driver also performed a dangerous overtake of a vehicle.  

A task spokesperson said: “The golf was recorded overtaking on the wrong side of two double solid white lines approaching a blind summit. If there had been an oncoming vehicle, it would have resulted in a head-on collision in a 50mph zone. We stopped and spoke with the female driver who was reported for summons for driving without due care and attention.” 

This sums up the fruitful 12 days for the Rossendale rural task force. The officers said: “We’re committed to tackling rural crime, including agricultural / plant machinery theft and also keeping our roads safe. If you have any information that you feel may assist us in tackling these matters, please email us on:” 

Read more rural crime news.

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