TWO men are due to appear in court in Redditch charged with offences involving the theft of more than £56,000 of equipment from tool and plant hire companies in Worcestershire, Herefordshire, the West Midlands, Leicestershire and the West Country.

The men, both aged 20 and from Bewdley and Worcester, were arrested following an investigation by West Mercia Police.

One has been charged with six counts of theft. He is accused of stealing a micro digger and trailer worth £15,000 from Hire It at Kidderminster; a plate compactor and hydraulic breaker worth £3,301 from Ermin Plant Hire, Worcester; a plate compactor and jet wash worth £3,270 from Brandon Tool Hire, Redditch; a generator worth £870 from Hire Station, Bristol; a disc cutter and pressure washer worth £3,027 from HSS Hire in Solihull; and a £7,000 micro digger from KB Handley Plant Hire at Barwell, Leicestershire.

He also faces two charges of wasting police time by making a false report of theft and two motoring offences.

The other man has been charged with stealing a micro digger and mini dumper worth a total of £20,000 from Brandon Tool Hire at Ledbury, Herefordshire; and theft of a pole saw and pressure washer worth £4,140 from HSS Hire at Solihull.

All the offences are alleged to have been committed between January 5 and February 1 this year.

Both men have been bailed to appear at Redditch Magistrates Court on Wednesday, December 12.