Equipment stolen after drone images posted online

Thieves targeted new fire engines stored in a compound – after a drone enthusiast took pictures of them from the air.

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Equipment worth thousands of pounds was stolen from the secure compound after an amateur drone pilot flew his device over the Dundee enclosure.

The pilot posted images of the fire tenders taken from the air on Twitter under the name The Drone Ranger.

One of the posts was even re-tweeted by Scotland’s most senior fire officer Alasdair Hay.

However, an investigation is now under way after criminals targeted Scottish Fire And Rescue Service’s new £3.7 million Asset Resource Centre, which only opened five months ago and maintains the north-east of Scotland’s entire fleet of fire service emergency vehicles.

The culprits struck on two separate occasions, first between 9.30pm and 10.30pm on March 26 and again between 3.30pm on March 30 and 8am on April 3.

The images of the engines were posted on Twitter on March 25.

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Last night, a Scottish Fire And Rescue source said security has been tightened following the attack.

The fire insider said: “There’s a belief the images may have tipped off the people behind it.

“It certainly advertised their presence to a huge audience of people.

“The engines they targeted were about to be distributed to stations in the north of Scotland. Their lockers were forced open in the break-in, allowing a wide variety of tools to be stolen.

“They had to be sent back down south to be fixed at considerable cost.

“Security is now being tightened across the board to prevent any future similar incidents from happening.”

Items stolen in the first theft included generators, saws, power drills and a variety of other expensive tools.

In the second theft, two vehicle batteries were taken from a storage container at the facility.

Alongside another centre in Inverness, the Dundee set-up oversees the repair and service of 348 vehicles from 164 stations across the north of Scotland.

There are 35 members of staff at the centre, including mechanics and property specialists.

The workshop section is fitted with seven vehicle inspection pits for fire engines, a mechanical parts store and three hydraulic lifts for light vehicles.

Drones are a modern phenomenon.

They started out as a novelty item, but now fuel a multi-million-pound industry, with drones on sale for as little as £30, and sales up 786% year-on-year according to Currys.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Fire And Rescue service said she could not comment because of the ongoing police investigation into the incident.

Police Scotland revealed their inquiries into the theft are continuing.