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Ipswich haulage firm boss's fury at lack of police communication over £250k heist

PUBLISHED: 14:29 23 July 2019 | UPDATED: 15:27 23 July 2019

Stewart Gayfer and Brian Hosford from 
Smeets Ferry have had over 250 thousand pounds worth of good stolen from the yard at Claydon Business Park  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Stewart Gayfer and Brian Hosford from Smeets Ferry have had over 250 thousand pounds worth of good stolen from the yard at Claydon Business Park Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

A Suffolk logistics boss says he is 'fuming' at the lack of police feedback after thieves broke into his yard and made off with £250k to £300k worth of goods.

Stewart Gayfer and Brian Hosford from 
Smeets Ferry have had over 250 thousand pounds worth of good stolen from the yard at Claydon Business Park  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNStewart Gayfer and Brian Hosford from Smeets Ferry have had over 250 thousand pounds worth of good stolen from the yard at Claydon Business Park Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Brian Hosford, general manager at Dutch-owned Smeets Ferry BV at Claydon Business Park, Great Blakenham, was on holiday in Turkey when the crime took place.

Raiders broke into the yard, smashed a series of cab windows - causing thousands of pounds worth of damage - before finding a driver's pass. They made off with high value electrical equipment, including projectors and computers, belonging to a client and a distinctive red and grey Smeets company trailer.

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While a forensics team did turn up on the day the crime was reported on Sunday, July 7, it took another four days for police to interview someone from the firm over the phone.

"I'm just fuming to be honest with you. It's like someone's stolen a pushbike," he said.

Smeets Ferry have had over 250 thousand pounds worth of good stolen from the yard at Claydon Business Park  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNSmeets Ferry have had over 250 thousand pounds worth of good stolen from the yard at Claydon Business Park Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The company, which employs 110 staff across its depots in Hull and Ipswich - 70 of them at the Ipswich UK headquarters - has a fleet of 82 lorries in the UK and a turnover of £7m.

Mr Hosford felt the thieves had come prepared and had "done a lot of background work" before the heist.

Since the theft, the team and its German clients had discovered stolen items for sale on Amazon, licence plate details, and had retained CCTV footage of the theft. But a fortnight later, police had still not revisited to pick up the evidence, he said, despite repeated requests from him and attempts to make contact with officials.

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"I spent three days of my holiday trying to speak to someone from Suffolk police," said Mr Hosford. "At one point we were 122nd in line to be dealt with."

He felt that because of the value of the stolen goods involved, police should have taken a more hands-on approach. The company was "very upstanding", he added, helping border police where they could.

"In my eyes, to the value of the load they ought to have sent someone down here and looked at the scene themselves," he said. "We are sitting here and we are getting a bit annoyed that we are doing the groundwork."

On a scale of one to 10, he rated his annoyance at 15 he said.

"That's how annoyed I am. I understand they have a hard job to do - I have family in the Met(ropolitan) police. It's just annoying. We run a very tight haulage firm here," he said. "I just feel like no one is bothering."

A Suffolk police spokeswoman said: "Officers have been carrying out extensive enquiries into what is a complex investigation. Enquiries are currently ongoing.

"Anyone with any information should contact Suffolk police by calling 101 quoting crime reference: 37/40588/19."

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