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    High-value grocery items targeted as freight crime spikes

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    Criminal gangs are stealing grocery items from lorries to sell them in the black market, states a recent report, also highlighting a rise in freight crime, particularly food and drink products.

    According to The Times, organised gangs are targeting the transportation of high-value foods, such as meats and oils, as well as alcoholic drinks and tobacco. Many of the stolen goods end up for sale on Facebook Marketplace and other online forums.

    Usually the gangs steal from parked lorries, with drivers returning to their vehicles or waking up to find the sides slashed and their payload gone.

    However, in some cases lorries are being targeted while they are moving in a practice known as the “Romanian rollover” in which thieves jump on to the back of the truck and empty its haul into another vehicle travelling alongside it, stated the report on Monday (4).

    The British Standards Institution says that 24 per cent of all thefts from lorries and warehouses last year were food and drink — up from 13 per cent of the total the previous year.

    Road Haulage Association state that theft from freight is as bad as it’s ever been and is increasing every year.

    “Part of the issue is the fact that it’s seen as a bit of a victimless crime but it’s not, there’s been a record number of insolvencies in the haulage industry recently, and everyone ends up paying in higher prices in the shops. Freight theft is organised crime. It’s not opportunistic so it needs to be considered as part of the broader organised crime strategy,” Ashton Cull from Road Haulage Association told The Times.

    Emmeline Taylor, a professor of criminology at City University of London, state that offenders engaging in this crime type are familiar with logistics and distribution networks including facts like how long drivers are permitted to drive for, the routes they will take, and where they are likely to stop for a rest.

    “Criminals are also familiar with the criminal justice system and will actively avoid using violence or weapons to evade their activities being elevated in seriousness by law enforcement. They are often then categorised as ‘theft from vehicle’ akin to a mobile phone or handbag being snatched in a car park by an opportunist — yet these are very well organised, resourced criminals,” report quoted Taylor as saying.

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