5 Biggest Haulage Heists

Autos & TrucksTrucks

  • Author Lyall Cresswell
  • Published October 6, 2008
  • Word count 568

Every lorry driver knows that theft is one of risks of their profession. Lorry trailers, often filled with valuable goods, have long been tempting targets for haulage thieves, and this kind of crime is believed to cost the haulage and groupage industry over £100 million every year. Each lorry load is worth at least several thousand pounds – sometimes, though, the cost is much, much higher, as a truly valuable cargo is stolen from a lorry or taken from a depot. Take a look at some of the highest value haulage heists in recent years.

Hi Def Hijack

The lorry drivers who were the victims of this heist in 2006 underwent a terrifying ordeal. After they had parked their lorry for the night in a lay-by, the two drivers were attacked by four men who threatened them at gun point then bound and gagged them. They were driven for over 400 miles to an unknown location, where their cargo was unloaded and they were finally released. They were transporting a shipment of expensive plasma screen televisions, believed to have been worth over £250,000.

Game Over

Computer game fans are invariably plagued by the same problem each year – a shortage of consoles in the shops. This theft undoubtedly contributed to the problem in 2006, when over £1 million of Xbox consoles were stolen from a lorry near Hillards Cross. The lorry driver who was transporting the consoles was flagged down on the A38 by several men in reflective jackets, who then overpowered him and drove off with his lorry. The vehicle was found abandoned – and empty – further up the A38, and the consoles presumably found their way on to the black market.

£4 Million Up In Smoke

In 2001, a seven man gang broke into a depot in Belfast and forced a crane driver to load four freight containers full of cigarettes on to lorries. There has always been a black market appetite for cheap cigarettes sold with no questions asked – each lorry trailer contained cigarettes worth approximately £1 million, with the heist as a whole bringing in a cool £4 million.

Hard Goods

In 1998, thieves made off with a shipment of Viagra in Netherlands, breaking into the yard of the haulage company at night and making off with the contents of a trailer filled with the popular anti-impotence drug. The lorry driver returned in the morning to find the customs seal on his trailer broken and the contents gone. Viagra theft sounds like a joke, but the cost is no laughing matter – the consignment of pills is believed to have been worth a jaw-dropping £15 million to the haulage and groupage industry. The pills are believed to have been sold on in night clubs, where it is rapidly becoming as popular a recreational drug as Ecstasy.

Big Withdrawal

Not technically a theft from a lorry; rather it is a theft using a lorry, but the sheer scale of the heist makes it worthy of inclusion here. The Securitas Security Depot heist in 2006 is to date the largest cash robbery in UK history. After abducting the site manager and his family, breaking onto the depot premises and locking up the night staff working at the depot, a gang of criminals proceeded to load over £53 million in cash into the back of their white Renault lorry, which they then used as a getaway vehicle. The empty lorry was found one week later, and the crew were rounded up and arrested shortly thereafter.

Lyall Cresswell is the Managing Director for the Transport Exchange Group. Haulage Exchange, their freight exchange for the 7.5 tonne and above market, offers an independent environment for its members to exchange loads and manage their groupage.

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