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Lancashire
Thursday, June 13, 2024

New study indicates Lancashire as a key area for HGV thefts this Christmas.

  • FOI requests to UK police reveal locations with highest recorded HGV thefts
  • Sussex recorded highest number of HGV thefts
  • Hostile vehicle mitigation experts share how to reduce chance of theft
  • Road freight crime costs UK economy £250 million every year

As haulage and delivery depots increase the amount of goods they transport in the run up to the festive season, leading manufacturers of hostile vehicle mitigation systems, Heald has delved into the number of HGV thefts within UK locations in the last three years and has found Lancashire to be a key area. To combat this, Heald highlights how haulage and freight companies could reduce the chance of stolen goods and vehicles at the peak of Christmas deliveries.

The new report’s findings are based on insight obtained by Heald through Freedom of Information requests (FOIs) sent to 45 UK police constabularies. Of those contacted, 18 failed to respond, and 11 refused to provide the requested information.

According to the insight gathered, Sussex is the top county for the most HGV thefts (87) since 2020. Other locations follow closely behind, including:

  1. Sussex Police (87)
  2. Hertfordshire Constabulary (67)
  3. Bedfordshire Police (38)
  4. Derbyshire Constabulary (14)
  5. Surrey Police (13)
  6. North Wales Police (12)
  7. Humberside Police (9)
  8. Lancashire Constabulary (8)
  9. Lincolnshire Police (6) and Police Service of Northern Ireland (6)
  10. Durham Constabulary (five) and Gwent Police (5)

Between 2020 and 2022, the South East England county of Sussex had a shocking 87 HGVs stolen within their constabulary. Included in the FOI data provided to Heald, 10 dropside lorries were stolen over the three years, with five in 2020 and four in 2022. In 2021, four flat lorries were stolen, and during the three years, a staggering 20 tippers were pinched from drivers.

Locations from which HGVs were stolen in Sussex include streets/roads, industrial estates, open-air car parks, and lay-bys. In Hertfordshire, 35 of the lorries stolen were classified as ‘tippers’, and 19 were classified just as a ‘lorry’.

In Bedfordshire, 11 HGVs were stolen in 2020, with 10 stolen in 2021 and 17 in 2022. The towns in this county which were hotspots for HGV thefts include Luton (6), Kempston (4), and Bedford (4). Interestingly, theft locations in Derbyshire (14) included a truck stop, a HGV storage yard, and a service station.

In recent years, truck stops and service stations have been key targets for thieves. In May, two men were charged following stealing £125k worth of chewing gum from a service station in Gloucestershire, while in August, perpetrators stole £250k worth of trainers from a lorry at Lockerbie truck stop.

Compared to the year ending March 2021 and the year ending March 2022, lorry traffic increased by 10%, and motorway traffic increased by 38%. With this in mind and online shopping orders skyrocketing since Black Friday, the number of HGVs on the roads will likely be significant from now until the end of the year. Subsequently, vehicles will be filled with Christmas goods and will be key targets for thieves over this period.

Not only are lorries a potential hit, but depots are too. In November, a Stallingborough delivery depot was ram-raided, with culprits taking between 500 to 800 parcels⁵. According to onlookers, a large vehicle smashed into the shutters hosting the parcels, which resulted in an easy recovery for the thieves. The depot had CCTV installed, but no other perimeter protection.

Experts at Heald highlight that thieves could also be targeting the HGV themselves. If offenders were able to retrieve a large vehicle like a lorry, this could assist them in a large-scale vehicle attack, which could result in substantial damage to property, surrounding areas, and human life.

Heald Managing Director Debbie Heald MBE shares the importance of perimeter protection for sites and locations where HGVs park: “To help stop HGV theft, haulage, delivery, and freight companies should consider implementing physical security products to mitigate theft and attacks.

“While there may be the initial investment to consider, by mitigating such attacks and thefts, communities will not only have access to a vital resource, but the financial loss and impact on insurance claims will also be lessened.”

For a company that works with HGVs, other causes of a loss of earnings from a theft of a cab or trailer could include having a driver off the road, having to cover the cost of stolen goods, the impact on insurance premiums, and the potential loss of contracts due to inability to deliver.

Road freight crime costs the UK economy £250 million every year. Considering this, installing hostile vehicle mitigation systems such as anti-ram bollards would be worth the investment to protect vital assets to enable haulage firms to continue to operate at full capacity.

For more information on the UK’s HGV theft hotspots, please visit: https://www.heald.uk.com/news/hgvs-and-depots-key-targets-for-thieves-this-christmas/

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