Security has been stepped up at the site of a landslip in Northumberland following a series of thefts.
The Journal has previously reported how Northumberland County Council had drafted in part time security guards at the site of the landslip near Rothbury following reports of trespassing.
The county councillor for Rothbury has now reported that the guards have been employed full time and that CCTV is being used, due to a string of thefts of fuel and machinery.
The landslip occurred at the B6344 at Cragend near Rothbury in December 2012, with the road having been closed since.
In July last year, the council confirmed security guards had been appointed to man the site outside of working hours following reports of trespassers causing damage, putting themselves at risk and abusing workers.
Additional signs were being erected stating that there is no access to any members of the public. Repairs began on site in May, with the road due to reopen in August 2015.
County councillor for the village Steven Bridgett has now reported thefts of fuel and machinery, apparently by travelling criminals.
Posting on Facebook, he said: “It is an unfortunate measure but the council and the private contractors working on the Cragend landslip have had to employ full time on site security and begin deploying CCTV cameras due to the high number of individuals entering the site and stealing fuel and machinery (It is believed to be travelling criminals).
“Could I also remind any of the many walkers and cyclists who still continue to enter what is for all intents and purposes a construction site; that this is not permitted in anyway shape or form and for your own safety you will be escorted from the site.”
One Facebook user commented: “An unfortunate sign of the times, nothing seems to be safe” while another said: “How about you just leave a few barrels of ‘diesel’ perhaps with a little mix of water in besides a machine. That will annoy any unsuspecting thief.”
Coun Bridgett told The Journal: “It is perfectly justifiable, we can not afford to have anything impacting on the progress on the work on the landslip and the amount of time we have which is late summer next year.
“We are about to start putting some expensive equipment on that site, if people are going on and stealing equipment worth thousands of pounds we can not afford to allow that to go on when there is a lot more expensive heavy plant machinery (to go) on site.”
The councillor said cyclists “wandering” onto the site is also a problem.
“If somebody was going to build a skyscraper, you would not go wandering onto the construction site but some people think it is okay to do it on a landslip.”
A council spokesman was unable to say what value of fuel and machinery had been stolen and believed the security guards were still only on site outside of working hours.
A Northumbria Police spokesman was not aware of any thefts being reported to the force.