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    Wholesalers, depots issued crime prevention guidance

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    Police and business support group National Business Crime Centre (NBCC) on Monday (2) issued a guidance for wholesalers to prevent warehouse and car parking thefts after an industry body raised concern over rising rates of crime.

    NBCC has been working with the wholesale, warehouse and distribution sector to support them in the preventing crime both inside of their premises and also in the car parks used by their customers and employees.

    This has included working closely with the trade association for food and drink wholesalers Federation of Wholesale Distributors (FWD) and supporting them by creating crime prevention material for the industry and also campaign posters to display in car parks to raise awareness of the issue with customers.

    According to NBCC, every day of the year, one customer at a UK Cash and Carry depot is a victim of theft or robbery while in the car park. Criminals target stock and property left in vehicles or while it is being loaded, especially tobacco, cash and personal items such as bags or laptops.

    The NBCC were made aware of a series of incidents where the offenders would wait until people left the wholesalers with their trolley of goods and when the victims were loading it into their vehicle the offenders would snatch the items from trolleys, car seats or boots.

    Cash and Carry operators use CCTV, security guards and other prevention measures to deter criminals, and share intelligence on crime and suspicious activity. They invest significantly in protecting their customers, colleagues and stock and work with police forces to catch and prosecute offenders. Most losses can be prevented through simple precautions and awareness of what is happening around you.

    “Our members are concerned about the rising rates of crime in the wholesale sector.  It has become distressingly common for personal belongings and purchases, including tobacco valued at up to £5,000, to be routinely stolen from cash and carry car park facilities, only to be subsequently sold on the unregulated black market. Regrettably, some of these thefts and robberies involve acts of violence and intimidation, taking a toll on the physical and emotional well-being of wholesalers and their dedicated workforce,” a spokesperson for the FWD said.

    “While wholesalers have been proactive in their commitment to combat this issue, investing substantial sums in crime prevention measures, in the past year alone, we need more support from the police.

    “The FWD look forward to continuing to work closely with the NBCC and Police and Crime Commissioners to ensure that wholesale crime is treated with the seriousness it deserves, and that the essential support required to safeguard the wholesale sector is provided.”

    Insp Paul Fagg from the NBCC commented, “The impact of crime on wholesalers and warehouses is being taking seriously by the NBCC and we are working with police forces and industry bodies to provide campaign material and crime prevention guidance to share with their local businesses.

    “Having good basic security policies and practices in place will help to reduce the opportunities for thefts to happen and we will continue to work with the industry and police to support crime prevention and help bring those responsible to justice.”

    Wholesalers and retailers can download the NBCC Cash & Carry Car Parks crime prevention guide for more practical support.

    NBCC further adds that cargo theft at warehouses and distribution centres in the UK is estimated to cost the industry millions each year, but many of the thefts are actually committed by employees.

    In a recent case a forklift driver was jailed for his part in a plot to steal £3.5m worth of whiskey from a Norfolk company by moving pallets containing almost 23,000 crates of Jack Daniels onto lorries as part of on organised large scale theft, NBCC reports.

    “However, smaller thefts by employees happen on a daily basis. It can be common place for inventory to go missing if employees feel underappreciated, underpaid, or perhaps just feel that the occasional product is a fringe benefit of working in a Distribution Centre.

    Our NBCC Warehouse and Distribution Centre – Internal Theft crime prevention guide provides top tips and detailed steps to take to reduce the opportunities for thefts to take place,” NBCC states.

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