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Thieves who steal goods from lorries are being targeted in a specialist police operation involving partners from across the county.
Operation Yard, which is already underway, will see officers deter criminal gangs from targeting delivery lorries by ensuring police are present in hot-spot areas, especially during the evenings, and issue security advice to lorry drivers.
Officers are working in partnership with drivers, haulage companies, service stations and agencies including the National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (NaVCIS) and the Central Motorway Police Group (CMPG), to share crime prevention advice and identify offenders.
The ongoing operation will run throughout Staffordshire, focusing on specific areas where lorry drivers are vulnerable, such as service stations and lay-bys.
Drivers have reported stolen cargo and their vehicles being tampered with on 17 occasions in one month in January 2022.
Most recently, on Thursday (10 February) officers received three further reports of vehicles being targeted overnight on the M6 northbound Keele Services lorry park.
Chief Inspector Rachel Joyce, lead for freight crime within Staffordshire Police, said: "Because of our location, a lot of heavy goods vehicles stop overnight in Staffordshire.
“While the vast majority do so safely, we know that there are criminals who come into the area to target these vehicles.
“We are carrying out a number of engagement events as part of our pro-active approach to tackling freight crime in Staffordshire, working in partnership with agencies including National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service and Central Motorway Police Group (CMPG).
“The events are focused on engaging with HGV drivers to raise their awareness of the possibility of their cargo being targeted, offering them crime prevention advice and reassuring the public that we are working to disrupt and deter these criminals.”
Detective Chief Inspector Brett Mallon, Head of NaVCIS, added: “We are pleased to be working alongside Staffordshire Police at these events.
“The consequences of freight crime are wide-reaching: the cost of goods is driven up, brand reputations are harmed, supply chains are disrupted, and contracts are lost.
“At its most extreme, freight crime can also result in violence against HGV drivers who are sometimes left hurt or traumatised.
“It can have devastating consequences to the haulage industry, so it’s important that we work together to raise awareness, increase safety measures and disrupt criminality.”
PC Mike Dawber of NaVCIS will be partnering with Staffordshire Police to engage with officers and HGV drivers to raise their awareness of freight crime. He will be sharing his expert knowledge and experience with officers and businesses in order to prevent, target and combat freight crime, which is often lucrative and highly organised.
The next engagement events will be taking place on the 21 and 22 February at Hilton Services in Stafford.