A BUSINESS owner is celebrating after a chance encounter led to the recovery of a stolen dumper truck.
Bob Budd arrived at his firm, the Hatch End Motor Company, on Wednesday last week to find a vehicle worth £10,000 had been stolen.
The large yellow Thwaites dumper belongs to a contractor who was resurfacing the car park at the company in Cornwall Road, Hatch End.
Mr Budd had organised insurance for the vehicle but quickly found out there was a clerical error on the form and it was not insured. “It was my mistake,” he said.
A horrified Mr Budd, 60, called the police and went through CCTV footage from the night before. Three men in high-visibility jackets and hard hats had been recorded driving the three-ton truck away.
“They must have been watching the premises, as they came prepared in high-vis jackets, half-an-hour after we had left for the evening,” he said. “They knew what they were doing.”
The police gave him little hope the vehicle would be recovered. Later, he told the story of the theft to gas engineer Jason Allday, who came to his house in Ruislip.
Mr Allday told Mr Budd he had seen a similar truck parked in a lay-by in Brakespear Road, Hillingdon.
Mr Budd went to Hillingdon and found the vehicle was the one taken from his garage. He and colleagues drove it back to the garage on Wednesday evening.
“It looked as though they were going to start work with it,” he said. “Thieves don’t know if a vehicle they take has got a tracker on it.
“They park it somewhere inconspicuous and go back a few days later to see if anyone has picked it up. If not, they drive off with it, as they know there is no tracker.
“It really would have been impossible for us to go looking for it, but to talk to a plumber a few hours later and find he had seen the dumper was amazing. I am still coming to terms with it really.”
Police are investigating the incident but no arrests have been made.
Officers from Harrow are also investigating a number of other thefts last week from properties which are under renovation in the Pinner area.
A cooker, fridge, washing machine, power tools and shower were stolen from a home in Haywood Close between 5pm on Wednesday and 8am the following morning.
Two thefts were reported at properties in Cuckhoo Hill Road on Tuesday.
Others were reported to police recently in Colchester Drive and Cranborne Road by owners of houses being renovated.
Anyone with information about the dumper truck theft can call the police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.