Essex Police’s rural engagement team has returned more than £80,000 of stolen machinery to its owners after locating it on a Nazeing industrial estate.

Acting on intelligence received, the team’s officers visited the estate and located more than £80,000 worth of plant machinery, including seven disc-cutters, a wacker plate, three breakers and a Leica rotating laser scanner in one of the units.

PC Joe McCarthy said the machinery was stolen from several businesses in Kent around a year ago.

“The owner of the unit where we located the machinery is not a suspect as he only took over the business recently,” he said.

“Happily, we have already been able to trace most of the owners and arrange to return their machinery.

“The theft of agricultural and construction equipment is extremely expensive and disruptive to businesses.

“Not only can insurance premiums rise as a result, machinery is costly to replace and the business can be harmed by delays. There may also be additional costs to repair damage caused by thieves.”

McCarthy is urging anyone who knows anything about the theft of agricultural or construction equipment, or any other criminal activity, to report it to the rural engagement team so it can target its “operational activity”.

“And please, if you own such equipment, consider forensic marking, to make it harder to sell and easier to return.”

The Essex rural engagement team said its investigation is continuing.

The rural engagement team investigates crime like theft of agricultural vehicles and technical equipment and hare coursing.

The team also work to prevent and deter rural crime and take enforcement action against those “causing harm” to rural communities through working with partner agencies.