A BUSINESS owner is furious after more than £24,000 worth of equipment was stolen from his firm in just six months.

Thieves stole a dumper truck worth £12,000 from the Pine Side development site in Ridgewell in the early hours of May 2.

Another dumper was stolen from the same site in Ashen Road on April 17.

They are just the latest in a string of thefts from Sible Hedingham-based Derek Mason Developments since November.

Boss Derek Mason said: “It is really infuriating. In 30 years I have never known two years this bad.

“They are turning up on some sites and clearing them.

“We work really hard and people come and take – that’s what’s frustrating.”

Mr Mason had tracking devices attached to the rented dumper, but they were removed within ten minutes of the theft.

A dumper was also stolen during a job at Toppesfield Vineyard in November.

It was recovered in December.

Mr Mason said: “We had photos of the first machine that was stolen, so when I scanned eBay and saw I knew it was ours.”

The police recovered the equipment and it was returned to Mr Mason, but he doubts he will get back the more recently stolen machinery.

“I don’t expect we will see them again,” he said.

“They are literally targeting sites left, right and centre. It doesn’t matter what we do they find a way around it.

“We are now going to hire big five-tonne dumpers which is overkill for our site and more expensive, but they are more difficult to steal.”

Essex Police are investigating the incidents which they are treating as linked.

A spokesman said: “This follows reports two skip loaders and a cement mixer which were stolen overnight and at this stage are we linking these incidents.”