UK companies are being tricked into parting with lead-acid batteries by criminals posing as engineers.
The Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA) is warning electric forklift users of incidents where forklift batteries worth thousands of pounds are being stolen under companies' noses.
The association has received a spate of confirmed reports about companies being tricked into parting with lead-acid batteries by criminals posing as engineers.
In one case in the North of England, thieves even convinced a company to use its own forklift to help load the batteries into their van, before driving away.
Similar incidents are being reported across the UK as heavy-traction batteries' scrap value approaches GBP500 (USD789.20) per tonne. The batteries weigh up to 2.5 T each.
In the Midlands, criminals in a white Mercedes Sprinter van were given free access to load and disappear with two batteries, while in Bedfordshire, GBP15,000 (USD23,676) of batteries were stolen in a single raid on what was believed to be a secure compound.
FLTA CEO David Ellison cautions all electric forklift users to be vigilant as many of the victims have been easy prey because they didn't realise they were targets. "Quite simply, if you use an electric truck, you are [a target]. Thieves don't care about the retail or rental cost of the battery. The scrap value alone is what they're after so any forklift battery is potentially at risk.
"Our strong advice is to carefully check the identification and authority of any 'engineer' visiting your site and to ensure batteries are kept very secure when not attended."
The FLTA estimates there are 200,000 electric forklifts working in the UK, with some companies also using additional batteries for multi-shift operations.
Separately, the FLTA is offering UK businesses a set of free safety materials in support of its annual safety campaign, National Fork Lift Safety Week. The materials, which can be downloaded from the Safety Week resources page
, will be available for free in September and October.
The FLTA will also send a free Employee Safety booklet to any UK company. Interested businesses can email their name and mailing details to email@example.com