The theft of a lorry and/or load can have a significant impact on drivers, particularly for smaller operators and owner/drivers. In 2008, nearly 1895 trucks were stolen in the UK and half were never recovered. In addition, TruckPol recorded almost 3749 incidents of crime, with a combined value of £84.5 million. The average loss per crime now stands at over £22,500. A stolen truck can be stripped in minutes.
Professional criminals and opportunists alike will target your vehicles and load but there is much that you can do to prevent thefts and reduce the chance of being a victim of crime.
Key points:-Be alert to the threat. Your lorry is your livelihood. Plan your route in advance wherever possible and avoid regular routes and stopping places. Organised criminals will observe drivers and vehicles for a period of time to build up information about routes, lorry movements and drivers prior to carrying out their crimes. Avoid discussing what you are carrying with other drivers and customers.
Do not leave keys in the ignition. Nearly half of stolen vehicles are stolen when keys are left in them. Always lock the vehicle and take the keys with you, even if you are only away for a short time. It takes seconds for a thief to drive your vehicle away and if keys are left in the ignition, your insurance may be invalidated. Lock your cab when driving and when you leave it . The most commonly stolen item is drivers' personal kit, including telephones, wallets and other personal effects from unattended unlocked cabs. Lock your doors when out on the road to stop thieves from simply climbing up into the cab from the passenger door.
Protect your identity, including documents and company issued clothing. Thieves use shipping orders, consignment notes and company paperwork along with high visibility clothing to impersonate you and collect loads. Anti Hijack:
Professional thieves will target valuable loads out on the road. Drivers should be alert to this and take precautions as follows; Be alert as to vehicles which might be following you. Report suspicions to your transport office and/or TruckPol. In urgent cases, call 999.
Thieves will try and stop you by employing a number of methods including ‘staged' accidents, impersonating police, tricking you with the pretext that your trailer doors are open or that your trailer plate has fallen off. Don't be fooled! Consider after market security to secure the cab if parking overnight. If you believe you are being attacked, sound the horn and switch on hazard lights. If attacked, do not resist. Contact your transport office and the police as soon as possible after the incident.
Round The Corner: A common method employed by criminals, particularly in and around London is to approach you as you arrive at the destination or when you are parked outside waiting to unload. They will often give the appearance of working at the destination, wearing staff uniform or simply a high visibility vest, shirt and tie and may appear to know where you are delivering and what you are carrying. Don't be fooled!
They will use a plausible cover story about a flooded warehouse, broken forklift, urgent trans-shipment or queue ahead and will offer to help you offload then and there or take you ‘round the corner' to another yard to unload. If you comply, they will steal your load. Don't be fooled!
If you are approached on arrival or when parked outside and asked to redirect to an alternative destination always check with your own transport office or ‘goods in' office or reception at your destination. If asked to transfer a load direct to another vehicle in the street, always check with your transport office first. If you receive a call on the road asking you to divert to another location and you don't recognise the caller, don't be afraid to call the office back to double check. Thieves have been known to get hold of your phone number and redirect you to a location where they can steal your load. Don't be fooled!
It is very rare for criminals to impersonate police officers to try and stop you on the move. If you receive a telephone call asking you to pull over for a police officer behind you or if you are flashed by an unmarked car, be alert! Genuine police officers will have no objection to being asked to verify details through a police control room. If police or VOSA need to stop your vehicle, they will be able to call on a marked vehicle to do so.
If stopped by an unmarked vehicle, pull over when it is safe to do so in a well lit area so as to afford them maximum health and safety protection and remain in your vehicle with engine running and doors locked.
Call your traffic office to report that you have been stopped. If they are not in uniform, ask for ID and check it. If you believe that you are being robbed, call 999 immediately. Don't be fooled!