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TT Club Raises Awareness of Freight Crime Supply Chain and Urges Collaborative Action

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TT Club Raises Awareness of Freight Crime Supply Chain and Urges Collaborative Action

Freight insurance provider TT Club is shedding light on a concerning trend in the logistics industry, the existence of a shadow supply chain for freight crime. This clandestine network mirrors legitimate supply chains, employing the same components, from route planning to warehousing. Stolen goods are then marketed and sold through legitimate platforms to unsuspecting buyers. TT Club emphasizes the need for collective awareness and action to address this supply chain ‘Black hole.’

Organized crime is a significant player in freight crime, operating with a profit-driven motive akin to legitimate businesses. Criminals in this space possess sophisticated logistics skills, mirroring the processes of legal supply chains in storage, transport, distribution, and marketing of stolen goods. Their expertise allows them to target shipments at various points, including truck hijackings and thefts from unsecured warehouses.

Josh Finch from TT Club stresses the responsibility that landlords bear in vetting tenants of storage facilities to prevent properties from being used for illegal purposes. A recent UK police operation uncovered a warehouse in Bradford containing pallets of stolen goods linked to cargo theft incidents over six years, totaling millions of pounds in value.

Finch adds, “Landlords must ensure that the sites they own and lease are not being used for illegal purposes, and TT Club is working to identify warning signs and due diligence measures.” These measures include background checks on potential tenants, regular inspections of premises, monitoring tenant activity with modern technologies like security cameras, collaboration with local law enforcement, review of lease agreements specifying permissible uses, and engagement of professional services for security.

Law enforcement agencies are increasingly providing evidence that a shadow supply chain operates alongside legitimate transport, utilizing the same components. TT Club emphasizes that addressing this black hole requires a collective effort from all supply chain stakeholders, including law enforcement agencies and warehouse landlords, to mitigate the ongoing threat and safeguard the integrity of the supply chain.

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TT Club Supports NaVCIS to help Combat Freight Crime

The National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (NaVCIS) is a police unit with a freight team that collates, analyses and disseminates Road Freight Crime information across England and Wales. The unit has been recently tasked by the UK Government’s Home Office with delivering a Problem Profile on freight crime.  TT Club is supporting NaVCIS Freight and its report with the aim of obtaining increased public funding to address the situation.

The ten-thousand-word report entitled ‘Profile of HGV, Freight & Cargo crime across England & Wales 2022’ (Freight Crime) now completed, is extensive in detailing a range of aspects from types of crime to varied methodologies and from locational analysis to direct and indirect costs to cargo owners and the economy overall.  It also has an number of recommendations on how such crimes can be combatted.

The report and other NaVCIS Freight analysis estimated the value of losses across England and Wales in 2022 amounted to £66.6 million.  There were 4,995 HGV and cargo crime notifications received last year (with data on reports still coming in) and NaVCIS Freight participated in 284 arrests, supporting a further 43 crime operations involving this type of crime.  The unit’s work has in part been responsible for the reduction in the indirect cost to the national economy from an estimated £700 million in 2019 to £428 million in 2021.

 Key conclusions outlined in the Freight Crime report are:

  • Freight crime is committed by Organized Crime Groups (OCGs), prepared to travel hundreds of miles; highly skilled, determined and mobile criminals, aware of police tactics.
  • This is a low risk and high reward crime, regrettably low on police priorities due to available resources.
  • Supply sector under intense pressure from effects of crime, which causes disruption and delay, impacting the viability of companies, retention of staff, and investment in the UK.
  • Lack of a central crime category or tag means crime largely hidden, lenient criminal justice outcomes following prosecutions and low priority for action by government.
  • Lack of investment in infrastructure, particularly in improvement of parking security standards, to be sufficient to deter criminals.
  • Direct public health risk may arise from stolen medicines and food stuffs.

A recent example of NaVCIS’ effectiveness in combatting these crimes and bringing the perpetrators to justice is provided by Operation Luminary involving eighteen months work as a result of which three criminals were jailed for a range of offences related to the theft of lorries and trailers containing cargo to the value of over a million pounds.*  The methods used were sophisticated and included the use of advanced technology such as scanners, key cloning equipment and tracker radios to trace vehicles and block communication signals.  With NaVCIS’ help further successful prosecutions are anticipated surrounding serious freight offences across the country.