Suspects caught after FWD tip-offs

The FWD’s Criminal Intelligence Database has started the year with four arrests in ten days as a result of collated information passed to the police.

Prompt reporting of incidents and suspicious activity at cash and carry premises enabled police to track and stop vehicles believed to have been used in thefts from FWD members’ premises in the West Midlands and the North West.

One man was arrested on December 31 after a black Ford Focus, suspected of being involved in 18 incidents reported through the FWD database, was stopped by police in West Bromwich.

A further three men were held on January 9 after FWD provided a description of a vehicle which was tracked by police and stopped in Stafford. The car was found to contain large quantities of stolen cigarettes.

FWD criminal intelligence analyst Isabel Koppel said: “Immediate and thorough reporting of incidents by members and close co-operation with the police authorities means that the suspects were arrested within hours of the theft, with the stolen items still in their possession.”

The database was set up by the FWD’s Security committee in April 2011 to collate intelligence on crimes against members’ vehicles and premises, and share details of suspected offenders with police services. It flags up indications that the same criminals are operating in different police jurisdictions, shares the relevant data, and encourages cross-border co-operation between authorities.

Up to 10 incidents are reported each week, including theft from customers’ vehicles and suspicious activity such as delivery vans being followed. FWD members share details of these incidents through a system of alerts.

Chief executive James Bielby added: “The criminal database is helping members prevent crime against cash and carries, and catching those who attempt it. Now, with nine months of incident reporting behind us, FWD will make the case with Government and ACPO for crimes of this kind to be given greater priority when allocating police resources.

“Many of the incidents against members involve the theft of tobacco products which ultimately find their way onto the black market, so we believe there is a strong case to be made for deterring criminals from targeting wholesalers.

“By providing the authorities with detailed analysis of incidents we will ensure that further arrests and prosecutions follow, and with the help of the police and the courts we will prevent loss to our members and their customers while protecting communities from illegal and irresponsible distributors.”

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