The £15,000 wood chipper was among items stolen in a burglary at Poynders End Farm in Hitchwood Lane, near Preston, on the night of Saturday, March 3 – with someone smashing into a lock-up container and stealing chainsaws, leaf blowers and strimmers.
The tracking device in the wood chipper meant police were able to locate it quickly the next day. It had been hidden with other stolen goods in a copse near a site off Dyes Lane, west of Stevenage. The recovered items were then returned to their owner.
Following further investigations into the burglary, officers from the North Herts Operation Scorpion team executed a search warrant at a plot on the Dyes Lane site on March 6, which saw tree-felling equipment – believed to have been stolen in the burglary at Poynders End Farm – recovered.
A 29-year-old Stevenage man was arrested at the location on suspicion of burglary, and has been released under investigation as police enquiries continue.
On Friday, the Operation Scorpion team carried out another warrant at the site and recovered another 42 items – including chainsaws, leaf blowers, strimmers and stone-cutting equipment together believed to be worth £35,000.
Some of the recovered tools were stolen in the Poynders End Farm burglary, but police think the rest were taken in other burglaries.
Operation Scorpion team leader Sgt Jon Vine said: “We are very pleased with the results of our investigations so far and that we have been able to return some of the stolen items to their rightful owner. We are now working to identify who the other stolen items belong to.
“We are determined to put a stop to burglary in North Herts and have been undertaking high visibility and covert patrols in affected areas. If anyone has any information about this burglary, or any similar offences, please get in touch via the police non-emergency number 101.
“I would urge everyone to remain vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour or vehicles to us – taking note of the make, model and registration number. It is also vitally important for owners of sheds and outbuildings to make sure they are properly secure when they leave them.”
Anyone with information should call police on 101, quoting crime reference G1/18/718, or report online at herts.police.uk/report.
Alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or crimestoppers-uk.org.