The RHA has criticised motorway services areas for their “appalling” security after Welcome Break admitted it did not have CCTV installed at Newport Pagnell services, which could have caught thieves that stole £36,000 of whisky.

In an email to Essex haulier KBC Logistics, Welcome Break’s data protection officer said it was “with regret” that the Buckinghamshire services currently had no cameras in operation in the main parking area.

In a follow-up email from the company insurance manager, the haulier was told that Welcome Break did not advertise parking at Newport Pagnell as secure, “for these very reasons”.

On 21 March, at around 1.55am, cameras on the KBC Logistics’ HGV picked up masked men approaching its white Mercedes parked in the southbound services, before tens of thousands of pounds of whisky was stolen from its trailer.

KBC’s transport director Dave Ashford said he wasn’t surprised that there was no CCTV installed because he believed all the main MSAs did not rely on it and as a result he said the sites had become “smorgasbords for thefts”.

Ashford said: “I have had a few occasions where I have had thefts and then been told there was no CCTV.

“A security guard would only cost £150 a night.

“It’s not the first theft we have had and it won’t be the last.”

Duncan Buchanan, RHA policy director, said the security for HGV drivers within the country’s MSAs was “not even fourth rate”.

He said: “To not put CCTV in there is really not good enough.

“There’s CCTV all over the place, so why not for security?

“It’s seems to the RHA to be strangely inconsistent to their duty towards the people who use these sites.”

A Welcome Break spokesman told motortransport.co.uk: “We operate a number of security measures across our sites and car parks, including recently installed LED lighting, so there is improved visibility at our car parks.

“We also have a record of every vehicle coming onto and off of our services area, and we work very closely with local police authorities to encourage the safety and security of our team members and customers.”