Around 6 tonnes of scaffolding equipment has been stolen from a residential building site in South Australia, putting the supplier $26,000 out of pocket.
The specialist scaffolding gear would only be worth $500-$600 at a scrap metal merchant, but the loss of revenue and cost of replacing it is much larger, the Herald Sun reports.
The equipment, which was stolen from a Largs Bay site along Strathfield Tce, was supplied by Acrow Formwork and Scaffolding Company and is just one of a spate of similar thefts in the area.
Operations Managers Scott Filsell told the Herald that stolen equipment is "nothing new", but this was a particularly large and costly haul.
"It is not the type of thing you can throw in the car boot – some of the equipment is short but [the] majority of it is very large," he said.
"I wouldn't be surprised if someone in a truck or trailer has taken it – you are talking about 5 to 6 tonnes."
The incident underlines the importance of having comprehensive machinery and equipment insurance, which can protect against a range of incidents, including theft, vandalism and accidental damage.
According to Mr Filsell, the equipment is valuable because it is a unique scaffolding set-up that doesn't connect with other systems.
"So, if it was to mysteriously end up back at the site, we wouldn't take the matter any further," he added.
Statistics from the Australian Institute of Criminology reveal that 39 per cent of residential builders have been affected by theft or vandalism at some point during their career.
Around 65 per cent of these had experienced stolen equipment or machinery on more than one occasion. The typical value of property taken is just over $2,000, although builders often report indirect costs that go much higher due to work delays.