'Bait lorry' targeted HGV thieves in Lutterworth
A lorry filled with fake goods has been used by Leicestershire police to target gangs stealing from heavy goods vehicles (HGVs).
The force used the lorry, loaned to them by a haulier, as bait on the A5 near Lutterworth.
The area has seen 45 HGVs targeted by thieves over the past three years, police said.
Police worked with TruckPol, a road freight crime unit, on the operation but the vehicle was not targeted.Warning to thieves
Det Sgt Sue Coutts, from TruckPol, said: "Road freight crime is organised, increasingly violent and market driven.
"Organised criminals respond to demand, travelling the length and breadth of the country to steal goods and vehicles," she said.
"Their methods range from curtain slash thefts to aggressive robbery and hijackings."
TruckPol's figures show 1604 LGVs were stolen in the UK in 2009, with 2552 in 2010 - an increase of more than 50%, with 66 HGVs stolen in Leicestershire in 2010.Caught out
Leicestershire Constabulary worked with The Harborough District Community Safety Partnership to set up the surveillance in Magna Park, close to a distribution centre used by lorries as an overnight stop.
Officers loaded the HGV with fake goods and installed equipment to alert police if the vehicle was broken in to.
Police said the lorry was parked in a lay-by for six nights during November and December, but was not targeted.
Despite this, police said the operation had been a success and they had gathered useful intelligence, as well as arresting two men on suspicion of theft of diesel.
Sgt Steve Bunn, who is in charge of the local neighbourhood team, said: "Previous campaigns have focused on educating and warning drivers who park in lay-bys.
"This was our effort to take the fight back to the criminal by deploying techniques to catch them in the act of stealing from the lorry."