News Archive

Follow That Van

by msecadm4921

From November five police forces across the Midlands have been in a joint operation to reduce cash in transit (CIT) van robberies.

The Follow That Van operation is a joint regional force initiative designed to disrupt criminal activity, deter further robberies and to help ensure the safety of the public. Officers from Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire, West Mercia, West Midlands and Warwickshire are working with the Post Office, and CIT contract firms Securitas and G4S.

In the region uncommitted police patrols driving in liveried police cars or those travelling incognito, will be tailing security vans to ensure the cash is delivered safely. Officers collect information about anyone acting suspiciously in the vicinity of the vans, which will be collated by detectives and shared with colleagues throughout the region.

Police are also asking members of the public to help build on intelligence and to stop criminals committing these offences by calling 999 immediately they see any suspicious activity occurring. Historically robberies occur between October and December with the robberies happening after the security van has arrived at supermarkets, automatic cash machines, banks and post offices as they collect or deliver cash. In Warwickshire, the number of cash in transit robberies are low compared to other urban forces with four recorded last year and five this year.

What they say

Det Brian Donley from Warwickshire Police said: "Although cash in transit robberies are rare in Warwickshire, the recent robbery at Attleborough and the attempted robbery at Tescos in Rugby on October 31, underline the need to take part in the Follow That Van initiative. These offenders are brazen in their approach to the crime, often threatening security staff with firearms. They either follow the security van or lay in wait for the van to arrive. This is a highly organised group of criminals whose methods are carefully calculated and sometimes violent. Obviously we do not want any member of the public to tackle these criminals and to put themselves in danger, but an immediate call on 999 to alert police would benefit the operation.”

Leicestershire Police meanwhile released CCTV images of two vehicles they wish to trace following a robbery on a security van in Loughborough.

The incident took place at about 12.30pm on Sunday, December 4 outside the Tesco’s store in Park Road, Loughborough. A Group 4 Securicor van was making a delivery at the store when the crew were approached by two men armed with iron bars. The men forced open the money cases from ATM machines in the store and made off with a substantial amount of cash in a silver Audi A3 car, registration number BP53 CJF, which was being driven by a third man. The car was later found abandoned in Beacon Road, Loughborough. The offenders were all wearing hooded tops and scarves, which were covering their faces.

What they say

Detective Inspector Simon Hurst of the North area is leading the investigation, he said: “We are carrying out a number of enquiries in the area and a large amount of CCTV footage is being studied. However, we need the public’s help and we are hoping that by releasing these images of the Audi A3 and four-wheel drive type vehicle someone will recognise them and contact the police.”

Anyone with any information is asked to contact DC 740 Steve Winterton at Loughborough local policing unit on Leicester (0116) 222 2222, follow the instructions to leave a message for a police officer and when prompted key in the officer’s identification number 0740. Or, contact Crimestoppers, which is free* and anonymous, on 0800 555 111.

A 35 foot articulated lorry, with a high profile crime warning on it, has been parked on the A4303 near Lutterworth in a bid to reduce thefts from lorries.

The truck, which has been borrowed from the Cambridgeshire Constabulary, is emblazoned with one metre high red letters which read ‘Truckers Beware! This is a load theft hotspot!’

The warning is designed to remind truckers, who park in lay-bys, that their loads could be stolen from the back of their lorries while they are unaware, sometimes asleep in their cabs. Since March 16, 2005, eight trucks have been broken into, in and around the Magna Park Distribution site, amounting to more than £385,000 of stolen goods.

Magna Park is Britain’s first, and Europe’s largest, dedicated distribution park. It is situated on the border of Leicestershire, Warwickshire and Northamptonshire in the middle of the M69, M6 and M1 triangle. Truckers, who arrive from across Europe, often park in lay-bys in and around the park while they wait to unload their lorries making themselves vulnerable to theft.

This latest crime reduction initiative is the idea of Hugh Crouch, the Welland Community Co-ordinator who’s part of a team that identifies and tackles cross border crime.

He said; “We want to warn drivers that they should park safely and take as many security precautions as possible especially when parking in lay-bys overnight. We advise all hauliers to park in the Rugby Truck Stop which is a secure compound on the A5 just 4 miles away but we know that not every driver wants to do that. We have also put multi-lingual signs in the lay-bys around Magna Park warning continental drivers that thieves operate in the area and we hope this large mobile crime warning will serve as a stark warning to truckers and a deterrent to thieves.”

Insp Mick Norman, Commander of the Harborough Local Policing Unit said; “Theft from heavy goods vehicles is a national problem and we are working closely with Magna Park and other agencies to try and address the problem locally. I hope this high profile crime warning will raise awareness among drivers about the dangers of parking in lay-bys overnight and encourage them to park in a secure compound instead.”

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