We were instructed by a major leasing company to trace and recover £5m worth of cranes. The cranes, which had been illegally sold by the company to whom they had been leased, consisted of two huge tower cranes and a 50’ long mobile tower crane.
Firstly, we traced the mobile crane to a depot in Bruges, Belgium. It was a complete mystery as to how the crane had got to Belgium as it required a special licence to travel on public roads and needed an escort. No such licence had ever been granted. We then kept surveillance on the Belgian depot whilst the leasing company obtained a court order for the return of the crane. This took about four days after which the crane was recovered.
The larger of the two tower cranes was then traced to a yard in Wiltshire. Unfortunately, the yard had two separate entrances about a mile apart. We placed a surveillance operative near each entrance. Because it was very rural and remote, the owners of the yard became suspicious and approached our agents with large Alsatian dogs and made threats. Our agents could also hear loud “clanking” and grinding noises. As our clients were afraid that the cranes were perhaps
being dismantled, we hired a small helicopter and one of our agents flew over the yard and took aerial photographs of the crane which, fortunately, was still in one piece. Again, a court order was obtained and the crane recovered.
The third crane was eventually traced to another yard in the north of England. Although it had been dismantled, all the parts were recovered and the crane was found to be complete.