THREE men have been arrested after heavy duty machinery was used to carry out a number of industrial thefts around the town.

Between May 25 and July 17, seven burglaries have taken place at industrial sites, often when plant machinery has been used to prise open static containers and carry away expensive tools.

Two men from the Swindon area, aged 33 and 18, were arrested close to one of the sites on June 23. A third man, aged 23 and also from the Swindon area, was arrested shortly afterwards. All three are currently on police bail while further inquiries are made.

During the burglary on June 23, at a housing construction site on Tadpole Lane, two 150kg industrial tools were stolen whenthieves stole the keys to a digger and drove away before abandoning the vehicle.

There have also been burglaries at construction sites in Churchway, Blunsdon, which officers believe are connected.

Lead and industrial tools were stolen during the thefts on May 25, June 8 and between July 9 and July 17.

There have also been thefts at sites on Pasture Close, The Circle and Firefly Avenue between June 21 and 23.

Investigating officer PC James Pew said he is looking for specific vehicles that may have been seen in those areas.

He said: “We are looking at metal containers which have been broken into and, more often than not, force used,”

“In two or possibly three cases an onsite plant vehicle was used to force the container open.

“In the latest burglary, the theives stole the key from the site office. Because the site had been hit a few times they parked the plant vehicle in front of the container. The thieves used the digger to open the container and took it to a more suitable location.

“They have then left that vehicle in situ and utilised another vehicle.

“None of these sites have CCTV unfortunately. There are one or two properties overlooking them, and it is quite a major road that runs from Oakhurst Way to the A419.”

PC Pew said police believe one of the people involved in the thefts knew about heavy machinery. He added that if anyone has seen or heard machinery being moved about at night the polioce would like to know. In particular they want information about a red car and a panel van seen at the time of the burglaries.

“We believe the large items will be sold to dealers, but if anyone has been offered any small hand tools in the last few months we would like to hear from them.”

Anyone with information on the incidents is asked to contact Wiltshire Police on 101 or anonymously at Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.