A MAN from Waterlooville has been arrested on suspicion of theft of a vehicle after a JCB was stolen.
The machine was taken from a Bartons Road construction site, in Denvilles, between 3.15am and 5.05am on Sunday.
Police said the JCB Telehandler was driven through a fencing and the woods along Bartons Road before being abandoned in Snowberry Crescent.
The man, 43, was later arrested on suspicion of a number of offences but he has now been released from custody without charge and remains under investigation.
A second man, 47, has also been interviewed by police.
Officers are now searching for witnesses or people who may have seen suspicious activity in the area.
They are also trying to establish if the incident is linked to other reports of plant machinery theft, in Hampshire, over recent months.
Investigating officer DC Peter Eamer said: ‘A JCB being used in the early hours of the morning will have caused noise that residents may have been alerted to. Did you see anything suspicious in the area?
‘As part of our enquiries we are looking at what preventative measures we can put in place around the security of heavy plant machinery.
‘We would like to reassure our communities that we take these types of reports seriously, and encourage anyone who notices suspicious activity near to construction sites or heavy plant machinery in rural areas, to report it to police as this may assist our enquiries.’
Off the back of the theft on Sunday, Hampshire police have issued advice to owners of heavy machinery in the local area.
:: Leaving vehicles out of sight when they are not in use
:: Locking vehicles and plant equipment when they are left outside and keeping keys in your possession or in a locked safe
:: Considering the use of hitch locks, wheel clamps or ground anchors. They said owners may require a combination of the above to meet insurance requirements
Anyone with information on the theft of the JCB should call police on 101 quoting the crime reference number 44180395832.
Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.