Countering Thefts of Vehicles and Loads
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THEFTS of vehicles and their loads, or of the loads alone, are apgarently not diminishing, and the risks of losses occurring in this way are hardly likely to become fewer while the materials and goods carried are in short supply and subject • to the machinations of the Black Market.
Empty vehicles are sometimes taken merely as a convenience for conveying stolen, or otherwise illegally acquired, loads from the receivers to the vendors. At least, our section of the industry does not suffer, as does the car side, from the stealing of vehicles to facilitate the operations of smashand-grab raiders.
How to circumvent these criminal activities has become an urgent problem. The thieves are clever. Many of the cases indicate that plans for acquiring the vehicles and/or their goods have been well laid, and are not the acts of mere opportunists; in fact, it is known .tothe police and to some operators that vehicles concerned have been followed for long distances, and the habits of the drivers, such as where they pull up for refreshments, etc., ascertained.
It is, of course, no use to "close the garage door after the 'vehicle has gone," but it is essential then to contact the police as rapidly as possible, so that the Flying Squad can get busy ; a few minutes in such circumstances may make all the difference, for, by wireless, the motor police can immediately be put on the qui vive. The operator concerned should also be informed as soon as possible, and it should be his responsibility to notify others in the area in question, so that their drivers can keep a, sharp look-out, not only for the missing vehicle but also to prevent loss of their, own.
With regard to the lorries, there are various ways of putting these out of action while the drivers are away, but the more obvious temporary ones are usually well known to the thieves, some of whom carry spare keys, disfributor rotor arms, etc. A simple method, which can be very confusing and takes some time to rectify, is to mix the leads to the sparking plugs in the case of a petrol engine. Each driver can do this in his own way, provided that he remembers what change has been effected. Of course, this scheme does not apply to an oil engine, and one way of dealing with this is to fit a tap in the oil pipe from the tank in some position where it cannot be reached in any ordinary manner. It can be so arranged, for example, that the driver must use a particularly long-handled key or pronged rod to turn the tap handle. There is also at least one make of locking tap for the fuel supply line, and no doubt other clever devices.
In the case of any valuable load, the best safeguard of all is to have it closely watched. Booby traps are not favoured by the police, as they may injure or terrify those inquisitive children who so often clamber about vehicles.