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Stop ASHPs being stolen

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(@datacompany)
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Wee bit concerned here about breaking rules with the forum as this is primarily a commercial contact.

Datatag - designed to stop motorcycles being stolen in the 90's and  insurance companies offer reductions on premiums if Datatag is fitted.  We talk to Police forces on a daily basis re this type of crime and recently the subject of ASHP's has been brought up with the following concerns; it's the same size as a motorbike, the same value, half the weight, makes a noise highlighting its position and at best has a cage anyone could remove.  

We have designed specifically for ASHP's and Li-ion Battery packs, a development of the system that has worked so well on Motorbikes. All major builders use Datatag successfully to stop the theft of boilers from sites and now ASHP's are becoming an issue.

This topic was modified 11 months ago 2 times by Mars

   
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(@transparent)
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I've adjusted the style @datacompany so that your post isn't conveyed as an advert!
But it might still be removed by @editor later.

I'm surprised that police and other professionals would regard ASHP units as attractive for theft.

Unlike motorbikes:

  • they don't come with wheels attached, so all 150Kg must be lifted
  • they have live mains power connected, together with pressurised water pipes and sensors
  • the external heat-exchanger unit generally accounts for less than half of the hardware costs

 

A heat-pump would normally be covered under conventional house insurance.

What's the point of someone buying a 2nd-hand, stolen ASHP unless it's installed by a professional?
That requires

  • registration with the manufacturer
  • Building Regulations notification to the local planning authority
  • consent for connection of Low Carbon Technology from the electricity Distribution Network Operator

Without that paperwork a house can't be sold, and might not be insurable.

A nicked ASHP is pretty worthless in comparison with a motorbike.
Why do you and the Police think otherwise?

This post was modified 11 months ago 2 times by Transparent

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Toodles
(@toodles)
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@transparent I am somewhat surprised that an ASHP (without the supporting paraphenallia without which it is surely pretty unsaleable and even more suspicious!) should be considered an ‘at risk’ commodity. I would imagine that many of the missing parts left at the site of installation would be quite a headache to procure legally too. I am reminded of some years back when laptop computers were the latest and most desirable item for ‘redistribution’ down the pub and I think the ‘nickees’ realised they needed the PSU’s to be a more marketable item. I have experienced ‘petty theft’ such as a temporary signpost pushed into the ground in the front garden to indicate where a committee meeting was to take place - there was nuisance value but the greater value was the virgin wood I had used to make the sign. I would expect that once an ASHP had been ‘removed to a new home’ it would be unlikely to see the light of day again. There must be a special place for such tykes in the skies…. Regards, Toodles

This post was modified 11 months ago 3 times by Mars

Toodles, 76 years young and hoping to see 100 and make some ROI on my renewable energy investment!


   
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Mars
 Mars
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Stealing an ASHP, as you’ve correctly pointed out @transparent, would be a major operation and the risk of damage to the unit would be significant. I’ve not yet heard of an ASHP being stolen.

Caernarfon 18kW ASHP from Global Energy System – 6.16kW solar PV array
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(@datacompany)
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@transparent

I've adjusted the style @datacompany so that your post isn't conveyed as an advert!
But it might still be removed by @editor later.

I'm surprised that police and other professionals would regard ASHP units as attractive for theft.

Unlike motorbikes:

  • they don't come with wheels attached, so all 150Kg must be lifted

Motorcycles are secured with all manner of things from etching, trackers solutions with codes but typically chains and disc locks in an attempt to stop them being rolled away and stolen and yet they are; The favoured method is  manhandling the bike into the back of van and pro's make it look easy. They would see a pump as very easy.

  • they have live mains power connected, together with pressurised water pipes and sensors
  • It's a mistake to assume the thieves are ignorant of the workings of the unit, we see pipes capped off and electrical connections blocked off, the thieves are often good installers stealing the boilers for homers. However boilers also get ripped of the wall with no consideration for the hard work put into building the house.
  • the external heat-exchanger unit generally accounts for less than half of the hardware cost
  • That's assuming the ASHP is going to be installed somewhere else,quite often boilers are taken for the scrap value, that section of the criminal element are prepared to break into a house (risking the associated charge of B&E) to steal a boiler that has half of the scrap value of a pump.
  •  Business's  exist to deal exclusively in stolen boiler parts ,boilers are stolen to order taken back to their component parts and these are sold through various outlets. Not having all of the pump will deter some,but the vast majority will take it any way, why not There's only a limited risk of being caught and if they say it's theirs, the burden of proof is on the Police, they have to prove it stolen.  We give the Police that proof and the criminal knows it.

A heat-pump would normally be covered under conventional house insurance.

That's not neccessarily true; some policies will cover it and some will exclude it, all motorbikes (I keep talking about motorbikes purely because The Police drew the comparison) and JCB's  are fitted with our system along with multitude of others and insurances are cheaper if our system is fitted,some insurers of Motorbikes, quads or Jetski's won't insure  at all unless Datatag is fitted.  We are in discussion with underwriters regarding this in relation to ASHP's Maybe if there are any bikers reading this they may want to comment ?.

What's the point of someone buying a 2nd-hand, stolen ASHP unless it's installed by a professional?
That requires

  • registration with the manufacturer
  • Building Regulations notification to the local planning authority
  • consent for connection of Low Carbon Technology from the electricity Distribution Network Operator
  • The assumption here is that everyone is as honest as you, Professional Installers fit stolen boilers all the time, they cherry pick the correct BTU boiler from a builders site and tell the house owner (Victim) the paperwork has all been carried out and double the profit in the job. If the boiler is datatagged it can always be traced back to the builders site and the theft of it, the installer knows that, so they go and steal a non tagged boiler.
  • ,  

Without that paperwork a house can't be sold, and might not be insurable.

I know nothing about that, but if we are correct in our assumptions, the resale section of the criminals involved will get round it, underestimating the ingenuity of some of these guys is a mistake, however I could be wrong. 

A nicked ASHP is pretty worthless in comparison with a motorbike.

It was more a physical comparison with a bike, however the fact that ASHP's are lighter more expensive have no tangible security measures make a noise to alert the thief to it's presence  don't have a number plates can't be tracked with ANPR and are far easier to turn into money does make me think the comparison is unfair.


Why do you and the Police think otherwise?

Just some facts:

We have dealt within the last month with 3 small builders who have lost between them 12 ASHP's we think this is the start of many, so do they.

The Vast Majority of landlords underwrite their own theft, so the number of boilers stolen never reaches the stats, so it's impossible to quantify, but we tag many thousands annually to successfully combat it. I've been at this for 25 years ASHP's are prime targets . 

 

 

 


   
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(@kev-m)
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I think it's something that might be of some interest.  I'm always amazed by the audacity of criminals and the risks they take for relatively little gain. The lead off one half of our village church's roof was stolen a few years ago, despite several houses in close proximity. The next night they came back and stole the other half.    

I am a motorcyclist; my bike has Datatag and it's at least slightly reassuring, especially since it's obvious when I ride it that I have one.  Fortunately I've never had to use it. There are parallels; like a stolen ASHP, a stolen bike won't be sold through mainstream dealers or even private trade, it will be broken for spares and/or (and I think this might be relevant for ASHPs) shipped abroad.       

I'm slightly complacent about my ASHP as it's out of sight at home and I never leave it parked in the street or a pub car park but may consider a security measure like this.  

This is a compressor for my ASHP btw. At two grand or so new, a stolen one's got to be worth a couple of hundred quid to someone somewhere. 

https://www.orionairsales.co.uk/mitsubishi-electric-air-conditioning-spare-ecodan-t97415780-234017-compressor-anb42fjgmt-with-mounts-14056-p.asp

This post was modified 11 months ago by Kev M

   
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Morgan
(@morgan)
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Disguise it as a compost bin. Compost bins are officially the least nicked kind of bin.

My neighbour has his £600k+ house just sitting there whilst he goes to work everyday. Mental. 🤣 

Retrofitted 11.2kw Mitsubishi Ecodan to new radiators commissioned November 2021.


   
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Transparent
(@transparent)
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It's good to hear from a bike owner @kev-m

Both you and @datacompany mention the possibility of the external part of an ASHP being broken up... for spares or scrap.

During the pandemic lockdown I had insight into three burglary attempts on energy-related hardware, one as the intended victim. There was police involvement in all three.
There are far easier targets than ASHPs available if the thieves aren't wanting an operational unit. I'm obviously not going to say here on an open Forum what those burglaries entailed, nor which items are more lucrative!

If there really is a market for rip-off compressor units, then there are simpler ways for rogues to feed unwarrantied units into the UK market. Here's a one-off item, very similar to the Mitsubishi one identified above, and freely available from a Chinese dealer:

image

If complete ASHP units really are going to be stolen, then I think that would occur before they get fitted into a house under construction.

Save energy... recycle electrons!


   
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(@datacompany)
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Hi Guys. Germany is 1 year ahead of the uk in the roll out of ASHP's as an alternative to gas (They are far more reliant on Russian gas than the UK) here is a link to their experience with how ASHP's are being welcomed by the criminal fraternity.

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2023/05/14/theft-of-heat-pumps-installed-outdoors-spreads-in-germany-insurances-refuse-to-cover-loss/

The implications for insurance claims are also covered in this article. Sweden also loses ASHP's in big numbers, however they are used to it, Germany like us, are now reacting as apposed to being prepared.


   
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 MPHB
(@mphb)
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Sorry @ https://renewableheatinghub.co.uk/participant/datacompany

But I live in Germany, follow this industry closely and there is zero news on heat pumps being stolen (plus Germany is no way ahead of anyone in the heat pump rollout). Surely, a few will be stolen in a country with 41 million households, but this is far from an general „issue“. 

I appreciate the placement of a product (with lMHO limited usefulness for the reasons given above by others) but it says a lot that absent meaningful media coverage in the UK, reference needs to be made to a different country where readers would struggle to verify this. 

As a Dutchman, I also follow the Dutch news and the Dutch are actually ahead of the curve. But: no news on stolen heat pumps. 

A last piece of business advice: market your product in Germany (referring to some HP stolen in the UK 😉). Germans will love to be protected to threads that don’t exist. The already massively overpaid for their HP anyway. 


   
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 MPHB
(@mphb)
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I looked into this a bit further. In May, there was a sway of news reports in c-rate news outlets with headers like "HP theft new trend", "Gangs after HP's" and "Insurers warn for HP theft". The article @datacompany listed also refers to one of these. However, these articles ALL refer to one single incident (on 41m households) without further substantiating the alleged trend, serge or massive risk. Please also note that there are forces underway in Germany that will do anything to discredit HP's (or any innovation or progress at all, but that's a different topic).

In the Netherlands: not a single report.

In Belgium: six units stolen from a building site. Nothing more.

in conclusion: I am not that concerned, and will congratulate anyone who made the effort to lift my 150kg unit into his van. I will put a note on my unit that there are bicycles in the garage.... 


   
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 robl
(@robl)
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Once you've cut out the compressor, will there be swarf in the cut pipes?  If it's stored badly, will the sump oil get water in it which turns it to acid, making the copper insulation fail? 

My take is that >95% of heatpump repairs are pro, and they will use new parts; labour is too expensive to be messing around with 2nd hand stuff with an unknown history.   The 2nd hand value for heatpump parts is very low - the £400 compressor in our tiny gshp can be bought for £40 on ebay - and that's a new(unfitted & resold) or refurbished price.  There's just no profit in it.


   
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(@datacompany)
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Hi Guys,

I fully appreciate why people are scepticle about this, as I've said these thefts are never really reported as the people losing them see it as a long standing and acceptable theft (we've never understood that) that gets reported to the Police and that's the end of the matter. So with that being the case, we thought we could obtain ther statistics via the freedom of information act..this is what we got back:

 

 

Devon & Cornwall Police Freedom of Information (FOI) ref: 01/FOI/23/005116

I write in connection with your request for information, which was received by Devon & Cornwall Police on 12/06/2023. I note you seek access to the following information:

 

We are attempting to collate the total value of Heat Pumps being stolen. They are extremely vulnerable and cages not only don't seem to work, but also add to the total scrap value of the unit being stolen.

Can you please release any data you have on the total number of Heat Pumps stolen up to this point?

Clarification (Jan 2021 to Nov 2022)

Following receipt of your request searches were conducted within Devon & Cornwall Police to locate information relevant to your request and I can confirm that some information is held which falls within the description specified in your request. However, it is estimated that to locate, retrieve and extract the specific information is likely to take longer than 18 hours.

 

As per section 12(3) of the FOI Act 2000, the time period of 18 hours is considered the ‘appropriate limit’ to the amount of time or money spent on one individual request under the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004. Therefore, the cost of providing you with the confirmed information is above the amount to which we are legally required to respond.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Here's another article, it at least is starting to introduce other knowledgable people into the mix.

https://www.homebuilding.co.uk/news/how-to-protect-your-heat-pump-from-theft?fbclid=IwAR0JrRpR7Ojksc619Y6iuffA-lzKwuvHcy2B2vkdOG2y2BcLL63wcBVQzT4  


   
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Transparent
(@transparent)
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Ah, well there's the problem.
You made the FOI request to Devon & Cornwall Police!

Police Forces based in the West Country are far less likely to have the capability to respond to such a request within 18 hours.
The pace of life is very much slower than that experienced in the greater part of England.

The 18h time-frame commences with a constable first needing to cycle to a library in Exeter or Truro and enter the search term 'Heat Pump' into a computer with a landline broadband speed greater than 500kbps.

Once the question has been understood, the local intelligence network will be activated.
This usually involves a plain clothes officer visiting Bogey Knight's second-hand emporium in Plymouth, and interrogating the owner over a cup of tea.

 

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(@datacompany)
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A brilliant reply, however, ..it’s an example of the response of 21 forces in the UK, who all replied in a similar way, unfortunately these theft types are logged as break-ins or thefts, but often not listed specifically, making collating the numbers stolen impossible. We were seeing if the procedures followed by the Police had changed and these responses would suggest they haven’t. We have tried and failed over the years to get accurate numbers; the FOI act hasn’t improved things.

 

An interesting development is the theft of Wall Batteries in Manchester, A new development of 70 houses, All the ASHP’s fitted outside were Datatagged, they were ignored,. the houses were broken into and 15 of the batteries were stolen. SUN synk batteries, ? the replacements will be Datatagged.

This post was modified 4 months ago 2 times by Datacompany

   
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