A 500 pony, 18,000 in cash and body armour worth 8,000: Incredible list of MoD thefts costing 270,000 in just SIX months
Catalogue of equipment stolen from April to September includes a pony taken by a soldier – who has now left the forcesThieves made off with uniforms, helmets, flags, tools and silverwareMinistry of Defence hit by metal thefts with copper, lead and brass stolenBikes, boats and Land Rovers also targeted but MoD insists many items are recoveredLabour MP Madeleine Moon says MoD bosses need to check what leaves as well as what arrives at military basesDefence Police Federation warns officers are only called in 'when the trail has gone cold'
16:10 GMT, 3 December 2012
A pony worth 500 was among 270,000 of Ministry of Defence equipment recorded stolen from April to September (file image)
A pony worth 500 was among more than 270,000 worth of military property reported stolen in just six months, it emerged today.
It is understood the horse was taken by a serving member of the armed forces, but has since been recovered.
But as fresh details emerged about the incredible catalogue of military equipment, clothing, silverware, tools, medals and flags which have been stolen, the Ministry of Defence was accused of being too focused on arrivals on military bases and not on what leaves.
Details of thefts reported from April to September reveal even secure defence bases are not immune to metal thieves which have also struck across the country as the process of scrap has soared.
But it is the theft of a pony which will have raised eyebrows in the MoD, which Defence Secretary Philip Hammond under pressure to prove he takes seriously the issue of government property walking out of the front gates.
The pony, worth 500, was stolen at the very end of 2011 but was not recorded as stolen in MoD records until June this year, according to details revealed by defence minister Mark Francois in a parliamentary answer.
In the two years from May 2010 1.25million worth of kit and equipment was stolen, but Mr Hammond has insisted that a 'significant amount has been recovered'.
It is understood the pony was taken from the Royal Artillery Equestrian Centre in Hampshire by a serving member of the forces, who was cautioned and has since left the armed forces. The horse was returned at the start of 2012.
The biggest single theft recorded in
the six months to the end of September was 26,000 worth of aluminium
taken in July.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has insisted much of the equipment reported stolen is eventually recovered
In May outboard motors worth 25,233 were stolen along
with diving helmets valued at almost 21,000. Land Rover batteries were also taken.
The list also included 1,200 of
racing bikes, a set of 2,000 medical knee braces, padlocks worth 3,280
and paving slabs valued at 138.
A Diamond Jubilee medal worth 150 was among the items stolen
Ministry of Defence insisted the high value of stolen property was in
part fuelled by a greater awareness of the need to report thefts.
Several brass items were taken, including fire fighting fittings, hoses and nozzles. Some 13,000 worth of copper, including pipes, water tanks and roofing sheets, was taken along with more than 14,200 of lead flashing and pipes. A 20 set of galvanised shackles was taken in September.
In September hallmarked Silver catering items, including jugs, teapots and baskets, were reported stolen, worth 6,500. A 245 silver rose bowl was also taken.
Labour MP Madeleine Moon, who uncovered the figures through parliamentary questions, said: ‘The high level of metal thefts included in the list provided by the MOD and the loss of valuable military equipment such as night vision goggles and bowman radio equipment is very worrying.
‘The continued high level of theft and losses from MOD establishments shows either inadequate tracking systems or that private security firms guarding military bases are too focussed on stopping people entering.
‘Clearly they also need to stop and check the cars and it would appear lorries leaving bases.’
Gadgets included sat navs, DVD players, camcorders, projectors and two TVs worth 1,360.
The list also includes sleeping bags, sleeping tablets, bedding, binoculars, gloves, laptops, torches, fire extinguishers, generators, gas meters, and more than 5,200 in fuel.
Equipment reported stolen includes body armour, helmets, boots and jackets
A Queen's Diamond Jubilee medal, worth 150, was reported stolen in June – the same month the Queen celebrated 60 years on the throne.
Several sets of body armour, plats and helmets worth more than 8,000. Clothing was repeatedly targeted, including jackets, jumpers and trousers. In July a 'women's jumper, Women's slacks, lanyard and scarf' worth 85 was taken.
More unusual items to have disappeared include 12,718 of water, 5KG dumbbells worth 55, a 500 solar panel, ceiling spotlights, a ceremonial tunic, 800 in frozen and dried food, a 270 flag,
Almost 22,000 in cash has been stolen, including 18,000 in a single haul. Tools including chainsaws, welding equipment, a wood router, and a 2,000 winch.
Labour MP Madeleine Moon said military chiefs should be as careful at checking what leaves bases as what arrives
A dedicated military police team, working on Operation Embroil, trawls internet auction sites including eBay to catch thieves trying to sell stolen defence equipment online.
Last year it uncovered 107 cases where military kit was being sold illegally on websites.
The Defence Police Federation, which represents civilian Ministry of Defence Police officers, said too often investigators are called in after the trail has 'gone cold'.
Federation chairman Eamon Keating said: 'This list is concerning and shows the potential for vital equipment and resources to either be lost or stolen from MoD sites, which is enormously costly to the Department and can be disruptive to service personnel.
'At present, Ministry of Defence Police officers can only investigate missing assets when called in by the Department, and despite these officers’ expertise and professionalism, they are often faced with the unenviable task of investigating thefts after the trail has gone cold and property disposed of.'
He said military police teams should be used 'proactively as a deterrent and to investigate losses straight away'.
A MoD spokesman said: ‘The MOD takes the loss or theft of equipment very seriously and works hard to detect and deter theft.
‘There are robust processes in place to raise awareness of the need for vigilance in all aspects of security and we actively encourage individuals to report loss or theft. This work has resulted in a rise in the number of reports over the last year.
‘Where theft does occur and a suspect is identified, prosecution or internal disciplinary action will follow as appropriate.’