CILT UK Approved Centre, Learning Partner Number: 4017547

Counter Surveillance Driving

Hijacking Gangs Focus on Trucks

A special investigation has learned that criminals are shunning bank and cash van robberies and looking for a slice of the £1bn a year trade in hijacked lorries and trailers.

While some “amateurs” simply slash open the canvas sides of lorries to see what they can find, most jobs are carried out by highly-organised gangs with links to drugs, guns and people trafficking.

They pose as government vehicle inspectors or even police officers and know exactly how many miles truckers can drive from the docks before EU regulations force them to pull over.

They know which companies put the top-end goods when they pack the trailers and have inside men who highlight the best gear to steal.

They also have a line of fences across the country ready to shift the loot, most of which is stolen to order and in recent months £1m of cigarettes and aircraft wing parts worth £170,000 were stolen from Birkenhead docks.

An underworld source told a tabloid newspaper: “With the cash vans now, it’s not worth the risk for most people, so you’ve got people who are used to making tens of thousands off a single job looking for a substitute and this is quick and easy.

“The serious boys do one every couple of days. They know the patterns, the routes, the lay-bys the drivers use, everything.”

Det Con Andy Round, from the national intelligence unit on truck thefts and hijackings Truckpol, said: “Historically and currently organised gangs from Merseyside are responsible for freight crime all over the UK.

“There are gangs making a significant living from this – one good haul for them will earn them what it would take an average person five years to make legitimately.”

“They are highly-organised. Some even have their own forklift trucks and wagons to get the stolen goods out quicker.”

The average cost to the economy for every freight crime is £25,000 – that includes the lost goods, the loss to the economy and the insurance costs – and for the gangs pulling a job off, it is low-risk and high-reward.

This year, the authorities have dealt with more than 3,000 thefts and lorry hijackings, already up on the 2,423 reported throughout 2007.

High Value/High Risk Counter Surveillance Driver Training

Having worked with a number of high value and high risk load carriers (including technology, tobacco, alcohol) whilst in the police service, we can now offer a surveillance identification and counter measures course designed specifically for the road transport sector.

The course has been developed by our training team of ex-police officers utilising over 60 years of policing and police driving instructor experience and will enable your drivers to:

  • Recognise the surveillance threat
  • Develop a planning and briefing strategy
  • Be proficient in mobile surveillance/counter surveillance methods
  • Recognise surveillance teams
  • Recognise bogus police/officials and develop counter measures
  • Be proficient in overt and covert anti-surveillance
  • Develop counter surveillance routes
  • Be aware of the benefits of technical surveillance including satellite vehicle tracking
  • Take part in realistic practical scenarios

If you feel your road transport operation might be vulnerable, particularly on the run up to the festive period, you need to act now.  Contact Steve to discuss your company’s specific requirements.

Bogus Police Officers

Difficult to pull off, but if done well, probably the most effective way of stopping and/or diverting a driver to a secluded spot to steal the load. Police uniform is available via the internet to buy, as are blue flashing lights BUT there are ways of detecting bogus police officers BEFORE stopping or diverting your driver and losing your load, by following a simple procedure, agreed by the police nationally – Contact us for more information on detecting and dealing with bogus police officers.

Bogus DVSA Officials

It’s not difficult for crooks to pass themselves off as a VOSA (DVSA) official using commercially available hi-viz jackets and amber light bars. Recently, VOSA have suffered the theft of a large amount of genuine uniform and fully liveried vehicles. So long as your drivers follow a simple set of rules, it is possible to ELIMINATE this risk totally – Contact us for more information on detecting and dealing with bogus DVSA officials


Fake Security Guards

Probably the oldest trick in the book, but one that works as well now as it always has. All the crooks need to do is dress smart in a white shirt with black tie and a hi viz jacket – and not forgetting the most important part of this deception, a CLIPBOARD. The bogus guard will position themselves close to the target premises and flag down trucks on their approach, directing them to a parking area nearby to wait their turn to be unloaded – BUT by whom? – Contact us for more information on detecting and dealing with bogus security guards

Don't stop for this police car because it isn't a real police vehicle, nor is the chap below, a genuine security guard
DVSA uniforms are very easily replicated, particularly if you want to resemble a Vehicle Examiner!
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