A group of men were spotted last night loading the digger onto a trailer and towing it away from Ashbourne using a white van.
Police deployed stingers across the A6 just north of Bakewell, puncturing the van’s tyres.
It stopped near Taddington and officers arrested two men in the van on suspicion of theft.
They are aged 31 and 32 and remain in custody. Police are investigating whether the van is stolen.