The RHA is calling for greater security for trucks parked at overnight facilities as cargo theft continues to soar.

Data shows that the cost of food cargo theft jumped to £700m in 2021 from £250m in 2011, whilst research by the National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service found there were more than 5,000 reports of freight crime in the UK last year, valued at £66m.

The British Standards Institution has found that food and drink accounted for 17% of cargo thefts last year, up 3% on the previous year.

The RHA estimates that 11,000 safe and secure parking spaces are needed, to prevent HGV drivers being forced onto unsafe lay-bys overnight.

It also wants changes to planning rules to help get new facilities constructed quickly, andincreased funding for new parking spaces and security, to help prevent cargo theft.

Cargo theft is often carried out by organised criminal gangs and the lack of lorry parking capacity in the UK has left drivers vulnerable as they sleep, with thieves slashing side curtains, cutting holes into trailer roofs, or tampering with seals to steal cargo, RHA warned.

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Recent thefts include 200,000 Cadbury’s Creme Eggs, worth £40,000, from an industrial estate in Telford and £5,000-worth of olive oil from a lorry in a lay-by near Doncaster.

Tom Cornwell, RHA policy lead on infrastructure and operator licensing, said: “There is an increased focus on security in the industry at present, particularly in light of the cost of living crisis.

"Our view is that although having first class toilet and shower facilities are vital, it lessens their positive impact if your cargo, fuel, or vehicle is stolen while you are using them.

"We are calling for facilities providers to look at the security at their sites and ensure that drivers are safe and feel safe when they visit. We have also pointed out that often the would-be criminals are organised and not always opportunistic.

"Facilities are key campaigning priority for the RHA. We are campaigning for better security at existing facilities so drivers can feel safe at night and are able to carry out their deliveries undisturbed."