Two arrested after police seize £100,000 stolen digger on A1 at Washington

Sharp-eyed traffic cops swooped on two suspected thieves after spotting them pulling a stolen digger worth more than £100,000.

Friday, 20th August 2021, 11:39 am

Northumbria Police motor patrol officers were on duty in Washington at about 6.50pm last night, Thursday, August 19, when a suspected stolen VW van was sighted on the A1.

The van was pulling a trailer carrying a Mini Digger, believed to be worth around £100,000, which had been stolen from the Keighley area of West Yorkshire.

Not wanting to risk a dangerous pursuit, the team expertly moved up on the van and surrounded it in a ‘box manoeuvre’ to bring it to a stop safely despite the driver’s efforts to escape.

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The van towing the digger on the A1

Two male occupants – aged 62 and 55 – were arrested and the investigation has now been passed to colleagues at West Yorkshire Police.

Northumbria Police have today reassured rural communities that protecting their property is a priority.

And a senior officer has today praised the skill and professionalism of the motor patrols who responded.

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Chief Insp Ian Cutty said he hoped their vigilance would reassure communities that rural crime was being taken seriously.

“This was a great job by our officers who noticed a suspicious vehicle, established it was stolen and then safely brought it to a stop,” he said.

“The Motor Patrols officers who were on duty showed great skill and teamwork to ‘box-in’ the car despite the driver’s attempts to ram their vehicles.

“We are committed to safeguarding our rural communities and understand the devastation that machinery thefts can have on the trade.

“The digger we seized was worth an estimated £100,000 and hopefully we can ensure that is returned safely to the rightful owner.

“We will continue to remain vigilant in the face of organised crime and under the banner of Operation Sentinel we will bring offenders into custody.”

The two men have been arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving and theft of a motor vehicle. They remain in police custody.

Anyone who wants to report rural crime can do so through the Northumbria Police website. If a crime is in action then always call 999.

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