Wholesalers’ teamwork leads to arrests

Two men have been arrested on suspicion of theft from cash and carry premises after intelligence sharing between wholesalers led to their vehicle being tracked down by police.

The men are believed to have seized tobacco products from customers in car parks at cash and carry depots in the West Midlands. A white Peugeot van was spotted at 11 different premises belonging to five members of the Federation of Wholesale Distributors (FWD).

Sightings were reported to the FWD’s Criminal Intelligence Database, and vehicle alerts issued to warn depot managers. The van was captured on CCTV and the accumulated intelligence handed to the Central Motorway Police Group, which tracked the vehicle and made the arrests.

FWD Criminal Intelligence analyst Isabel Koppel said: “Through the willingness of members to share details of thefts and suspicious incidents, we have been able to piece together enough intelligence to enable the police to make these arrests. It shows how effective this co-operation can be in preventing crimes against wholesalers and their customers.”

Chief executive James Bielby added: “The criminal database is helping members prevent crime against cash and carries, and catching those who attempt it. 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.

The database was set up in April last year and now sees up to 10 incidents reported each week, including thefts from customer’s vehicles and other suspicious activity such as delivery vans being followed.

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