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Raid prompts security overhaul

PUBLISHED: 11:34 23 February 2002 | UPDATED: 11:24 03 March 2010

SECURITY at the Port of Felixstowe was under urgent review today after another raid.

In a carefully-planned theft, a gang got away with a container-load of computer parts worth tens of thousands of pounds, just a few days after thieves took the same route to steal vodka worth £750,000.

SECURITY at the Port of Felixstowe was under urgent review today after another raid.

In a carefully-planned theft, a gang got away with a container-load of computer parts worth tens of thousands of pounds, just a few days after thieves took the same route to steal vodka worth £750,000.

It was the latest in a spate of lorry thefts which also saw three containers of clothing and designer shoes taken from Pentalver Transport in Blofield Road, Felixstowe, by thieves dressed as policemen who kidnapped a security guard.

In another raid, £40,000-worth of designer clothing and remote controls was taken from a yard at the Port of Ipswich just 12 miles away.

Police said the latest theft from the Port of Felixstowe happened between 10pm and 10.35pm on Tuesday February 19.

Using a dark-green coloured articulated cab unit with false number plates, the gang drove into the port and took the container from Trinity Terminal.

The cargo – spare parts for computer printers – never arrived at its destination and Felixstowe CID are appealing for public help to trace the Volvo FH12 cab, which had V839 VRY registration plates.

It is not known where the cargo was destined but neither the containers or the lorry have yet been found.

Anyone who saw the lorry on the road or has any information is asked to contact Dc Elaine Palmer at Felixstowe CID on 01473 383300 or Crimestoppers 0800 555111.

It is understood that both the vodka and the computer printer equipment were stolen by the same method, using genuine paperwork, but at this stage police are not linking the two crimes.

Paul Davey, corporate affairs manager for Hutchison Ports UK, owners of Felixstowe port, said security at the 700-acre complex was being reviewed following the thefts.

He stressed that such thefts from the port, which has an excellent security record, are rare – with only a handful of such incidents in the past decade.

"When an incident of this nature and seriousness occurs, we always review our procedures to see what can be learned and that is taking place now," he said.

"However, the port security system was not compromised and the thieves had valid authorisation to remove the load."

Containers can only be removed from the storage parks at the port by drivers carrying the required authorisation. The port is patrolled by its own police and is surrounded by security fencing. Lorries have to pass police checkpoints to go in and out and every driver and vehicle registration is photographed.

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