Fresh efforts to beef up security

FRESH efforts are being made today to beef up security in Felixstowe's port area after a string of lorry thefts over the past year.Professional gangs targeting the ports have got away with hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of goods – and police are teaming up with hauliers and insurers to try to stop them.

FRESH efforts are being made today to beef up security in Felixstowe's port area after a string of lorry thefts over the past year.

Professional gangs targeting the ports have got away with hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of goods – and police are teaming up with hauliers and insurers to try to stop them.

In the latest incident a stolen lorry with a container of microwave ovens on its trailer was chased by police from Felixstowe to Romford, where it crashed into a council-owned garage.

A 22-year-old man was arrested after police surrounded the crashed truck, and he has since been released on bail until September 24.

Thieves have been carrying out surveillance around Felixstowe's haulage yards before stealing loads, often bringing their own tractor unit, hitching up to a trailer and then driving away.

Final destinations for the goods are already earmarked and loads are quickly split up into smaller consignments and distributed countrywide.

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One of the biggest concerns at Felixstowe is how easily thieves are getting hold of paperwork for consignments, or using forged documents.

Some years ago there were major problems when many small shipping offices were leaving documents taped to doors after-hours in large office complexes.

Felixstowe police commander Insp Andy Bushell said a new group called the Supply Chain Security Group, comprising port officials, insurance experts, haulage representatives, police and crime reduction officers had been set up.

"The police are keen for every business to be as secure as possible and we would encourage them in that in any way we can," said Insp Bushell.

"Our crime reduction officers will always give people – whether it's for a business or a house – advice and we would hope those involved then take steps to rectify any internal security system deficiencies or problems.

"The aim of the new group is to look at security in and around the port area and at crime reduction initiatives.

"A number of methods and systems will be looked at, and CCTV around the dock area will be one of those initiatives considered.

"Everyone wants to have a security system that works and everybody needs to have as many crime reduction initiatives as they can. Hopefully by working in partnership we will be able to develop something that covers the whole area."

In the past year there has been a large number of lorry thefts from the town including a container load of stereos worth nearly £200,000, Mothercare strollers, bed linen, crayons, wooden trays, beer, shoes, vodka and clothes.

The Road Haulage Association says more than £500m of trucks and goods are stolen each year with more than 3,000 loads never recovered.

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