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Police prevent and drive down theft from lorries in North Yorkshire

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Criminals who steal goods from lorries in North Yorkshire are being targeted by a special police operation.

Op Cargo aims to catch gangs who slash the covers of curtain-sided vehicles and raid the contents, often when the driver has parked up for the night.

Officers are using a range of policing tactics to prevent crimes happening and catch offenders.

They will also work with drivers, haulage companies, service stations and agencies including the National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (NaVCIS).

The operation will be ongoing and will run throughout the county. It will focus on specific areas where lorry drivers are vulnerable, such as service stations and laybys.

This year North Yorkshire Police has received around 50 reports from drivers about stolen cargo, having their vehicles tampered with and in one case a driver was threatened when he disturbed the criminals stealing his load.

Inspector Dave Murray of North Yorkshire Police said: “Because of our location, a lot of heavy goods vehicles travel through North Yorkshire. While the vast majority do so safely, we know that there are criminal gangs who come into the area to target these vehicles.

“We’ve always taken haulage theft in North Yorkshire seriously but this is the first time we’ve worked in partnership with NaVCIS and in partnership with businesses to focus on the problem. 

“We’ll be using a range of tactics that we know are effective to prevent haulage crime in the first place, to reassure HGV drivers, to reassure the public and to the disrupt and deter criminals from coming to North Yorkshire to commit crime.”

In 2018 around £90m of goods was stolen from haulage vehicles in England and Wales with nearly 900 reports to date this year.

Criminals often work in gangs to cut their way into lorries and load the goods onto a waiting vehicle. They target a range of items that are then sold on the black market, including alcohol and tobacco, electrical goods or vehicle parts.

Last modified: April 15, 2019