Company boss uses tracking device to follow thieves who stole digger

Company boss, 35, chases thieves down the motorway and guides police to their van after they stole digger he fitted with a tracker

  • Sam Daniel runs business Ashley Plant Hire in Altrincham, Greater Manchester
  • His company had recently installed tracking systems on its expensive machinery
  • When one was stolen, he followed the tracker for 50 miles and called the police
  • Police then took over the chase and recovered the stolen piece of machinery

A company boss chased thieves down the motorway and helped guide police to their van after they stole a digger he had fitted with a tracking device.

Sam Daniel’s family business, Ashley Plant Hire and Building Supplies LTD in Altrincham, had been hit by a string of machinery thefts in recent months.

So he and his business partners, his dad and brother, decided to purchase tracking systems for their most expensive items – so they could keep tabs on the machinery when they went home.

Not long after installing the devices, Mr Daniel received an alert on his phone to report movement from one of his Micro Excavator digger.

Not wanting to be the target of yet another theft, he decided to jump in his car and follow the tracker – not realising he would end up becoming involved in a 50-mile chase.

‘I checked again and it was heading down the A556 so I just ran out the house and went chasing after it,’ Sam said.

Sam Daniel, 35, who runs a family business, Ashley Plant Hire and Building Supplies LTD in Altrincham, chased down a stolen piece of machinery using a tracking device

After tracking the piece of machinery for 50 miles, he called for police to stop the vehicle (pictured: Police recover the stolen machine)

‘I was on a three way call with my parents. My dad was guiding me where the tracker was moving and my mum was relaying the location to the police.

‘By the time I caught up with the tracker it was at Junction 17 of the M60 near Bolton.

‘I saw a van that stuck out a mile off so I followed that one and gave the details to the police.

‘I was giving every detail I had of the van they were driving – where they were heading, the speed, what lane they were in.’

Eventually, several police cars took over Sam’s efforts and successfully pulled over the van on the M62 at Halifax.

‘Four police vehicles flew past me with flashing lights and then there were more police cars,’ Sam said.

‘They started slowing all the traffic down. All of a sudden we came to a stop and police pulled the van over.’

Police found the item inside a van (pictured), which Mr Daniel had chased down using a tracking device

‘They checked inside the van and low and behold the digger was in there. I was one happy customer.’

Sam posted the story on his LinkedIn profile following his dramatic evening, and said the reaction has been ‘amazing.’

‘Excavator theft is on such a high at the moment and normally the thieves never get caught,’ he said.

‘Last year alone we had five machines stolen so we took matters into our own hands and bought the trackers.

‘The police were very responsive. We still haven’t got the digger back because it’s being used for forensics but it’s in safe hands so that’s the main thing.’

Greater Manchester Police have been approached for comment.

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