Police raids net 16
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by Grant Prior • In the latest of a series of police victories in the battle against truck crime, 16 people were arrested during dawn raids in Essex and the North-East last week following a string of truck load thefts.
Detectives working on a joint Essex, Northumbria and Durham operation, codenamed "Mondeo", have charged eight people with conspiracy to steal and stolen loads handling offences. The others arrested have been released on police bail.
The swoop followed a string of robberies in Grays, Essex, where thieves got away with stolen truck loads of alcohol worth more than £500,000. Thirty stolen sports cars worth £250,000 dis
covered by detectives at a farm near Halstead, Essex are also connected with the operation.
An officer working on the operation says : 'This is an ongoing investigation and there could be more arrests." Police say their recent truck theft successes have stemmed from pressure by hauliers Head of Scotland Yard's stolen motor vehicles investigation squad Detective Superintendent Bob Melrose says: "It's fair to say that we have responded to pressure from the transport industry to put more resources into stopping truck thefts.
"Forms are pooling intelligence and there have been a number of high profile successes recently."
At least 25 people have now been charged in connection with commercial vehicle-related theft in the past two months in operations by six police forces.
C Figures released by the Association of British Insurers show that UK members claimed
£ 170 million on insurance following n-uck load theft last year.