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Driving down the M6 after attending a Datatag training course on vehicle examination, Datatag Managing Director Kevin Howells found himself behind a 4x4 towing a flat-bed trailer and a Takuchi TB016 excavator. Nothing unusual in that only Kevin saw signs that all was not right with the machine based on the key indicators he had picked up on the course earlier in the day.

Having called the Police Liaison Team the Takeuchi was stopped by the local police, who on examination of the serial numbers concluded despite the tell tale signs that all was in order. The driver was also able to confirm that he had just purchased the machine from Manchester after finding it on Ebay. 

Datatag’s Police Liaison Team wasn’t convinced so checked with Takuchi's head office, who confirmed his suspicions.  The serial number quoted belonged to a machine which was apparently in Australia! Now in possession of more facts Nick Mayell called the local police and offered his services to examine the machine at the purchasers address. After a number of visits it appeared that no-one could properly determine if this machine was indeed stolen.

Not one to let go Nick kept driving past the registered keepers address hoping to spot the suspect machine for himself. After months of persistence he finally did and arranged to examine the machine with DC Nathan Ricketts of NaVCIS. The owner was persuaded to allow Nick and DC Ricketts to re-inspect the machine for a fourth time! With 30 years’ experience in finding stolen plant and machinery Nick was quickly able to spot the tell-tale signs and that the machine had:

  • A fake ID plate
  • A fake chassis number
  • And a missing engine plate

Unable to fully identify the machine but knowing clearly there were issues the machine was seized by the police and back at base Nick finally managed to identify it through CESAR technology and a covert engine number. 

Further checks on the PNC revealed that the Takuchi had been reported stolen in Manchester on the 22nd August 2012. The innocent purchaser, who had bought the machine only a matter of weeks after it was stolen, had all the documentation you would think would put his mind at rest regarding the provenance of the machine.

Nick Mayell of Datatag said "This recovery goes to show the importance of proper training when dealing with suspect plant and agricultural machinery. It is completely understandable why police officers would have been fooled by the quality of the criminal’s re-identification, but I am also confident that the hundreds of officers who have attended the 2 day accredited plant course now have the skill set to recognise that this is a suspect machine!"

DC Nathan Ricketts said "Not the easiest identification job but as ever the CESAR technology and Nicks experience came through.  A combination of knowledge through the training and identification through the CESAR Scheme technologies is a real tough one to crack for criminals."

This machine will now be safely returned back to the insurance company.

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