Article date: 29 November 2007
Norwich Union is supporting a recent warning from the Freight Transport Association (FTA) for commercial vehicle drivers to stay alert ahead of an expected rise in freight crime during the build up to Christmas.
The FTA said additional drivers, hired-in vehicles, as well as new rosters and routes all provide opportunities for theft.
Bill Pownall, motor risk manager for Norwich Union, comments: "As more goods are moved across the country to cater for the pre-Christmas demand, criminals are on the lookout for easy-pickings from lorry trailers and other commercial vehicles, including vans."
Pownall highlights a number of recent incidents to show the range of tactics used by freight criminals:
"In one case, a gang successfully made off with a trailer full of wines and spirits from a delivery premises in north west London. A member of the gang convinced the driver to allow the transfer of the load to a stolen trailer, within sight of the security gate.
"Attempts to pick up ‘returns' from retail premises has also come to light, with criminals turning up with fake paperwork providing authorisation for collection.
"A driver being distracted so that their vehicle and trailer can be stolen is another problem, as is the occasional vehicle jacking.
"Although events such as this are rare, it underlines the fact that drivers need to stay alert for their own personal safety, as well as the security of their loads. In addition, both managers and traffic clerks should take into account the need for secure parking for vehicles carrying high value or high risk loads, particularly when deciding on timings and routes.
"It's also imperative that hauliers and managers provide drivers with clear instructions when it comes to deliveries, and when drivers or staff sense anything out of the ordinary, they contact someone they know to check everything is okay.
"It is also important that caution be exercised when temporary staff are used, particularly when it comes to high risk or high value loads. This is where effective driver vetting, and licence validation play a vital role, which needs to be complimented by clear, unambiguous instructions and emergency procedures for all drivers. For instance, robust validation phone calls need to be made to their own traffic office or pre-arranged contact, before accepting any changes in delivery or collection instructions."
For further information, please contact:
Elinor Graveson at Staniforth on 0161 919 8025/ 07973 360 141 or Sally Leeman at Norwich Union on 01603 684225/ 07800 699670.
Notes to editors:
Norwich Union is the UK's largest general insurer with a market share of around 15%, with a focus on insurance for individuals and small businesses.
It is a leading provider of life, pensions and investment products and one of the largest financial adviser (FA) providers. FAs provide over 70% of the company's long-term savings business in the UK.
Norwich Union's news releases and a selection of images are available from Aviva's internet press centre at www.aviva.com/media.