How to avoid buying stolen plant & equipment

Views 8 Likes Comments Comment
Like if this guide is helpful


Beware, £1,000,000 worth of plant & equipment is stolen every week (source: Home Office)

Telehandlers, excavators, loaders, rollers, trailers, dumpers, tractors, quad bikes etc are stolen by organised criminal gangs and sold on to unsuspecting buyers. Each year The National Plant & Equipment Register (TER) produces a Theft Report which highlights annual thefts and compares this to other years by equipment type, police forces and location.   Download the TER theft report from 

Buying stolen equipment can only lead to heartache as you cannot acquire good title in stolen equipment. In other words, if you buy stolen equipment you are likely to lose the machine and probably every penny you paid for it, not to mention having your good name tainted and possibly even get a knock at the door from the police.

What can you do?

  • DO seek references for the seller from someone you know who has dealt with them before
  • DO physically inspect the equipment before you buy it – make sure that the correct type of serial number plate is fixed correctly to the chassis and that it has not been interfered with
  • DON’T purchase from ‘dodgy’ places such as pub car parks, lay-bys or service stations
  • DO view or buy it from the company or home address of the seller
  • DO be suspicious of recently re-sprayed equipment
  • DO check the ignition has not been damaged
  • DO look for any previous owner decals – if you find any, call them to make sure they have sold it
  • DO ask for any documentation – Receipts, Service History, V5 etc..
  • DO request a company receipt which includes the seller’s full address and VAT number
  • DO TER Check the equipment with TER before you buy it – and do so when you are standing next to it if possible
  • DO insist on seeing the TER Check certificate if you are buying from a dealer or auction
  • DON’T pay cash
  • DO be suspicious if the sale price is lower than the market value
  • DO walk away if you have any doubts.  Be suspicious – don’t be greedy

Sellers – DON’T release equipment before the funds have cleared into your bank account

The National Plant & Equipment Register (TER) operates the database of owned and stolen plant & equipment and assists the police and law enforcement agencies with the identification and recovery of stolen items on behalf of owners.

A TER Check is the best way to gain peace of mind for as little as £30 + VAT.  TER will check the serial number provided plus any other relevant information supplied against their database of 600,000 owned and 100,000 stolen items of plant and equipment.

TER offers a number of services to assist equipment owners.  If you own equipment you should register the details with TER.  Registration is free for up to 5 items.  Police stop and check equipment, if you item is registered with TER it lets the police know who should be in possession of the equipment.

If you have an item stolen… call the police as soon as you can.  Make sure you have the make, model, serial number, vehicle registration number, if applicable, fleet number etc. the more information you can supply the better.  Then visit the TER website and register the theft, there is no charge for registering a theft.

How to try and stop you equipment being stolen?

Download the TER loss prevention advice document from

If you wish to contact TER please call 01225 464599 or visit the TER website:

Have something to share, create your own guide... Write a guide
Explore more guides