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Operation launched to tackle delivery driver thefts

Cheshire Constabulary is launching its annual operation to support delivery drivers and couriers over the festive period.

With Christmas now just weeks away and more people ordering online than ever before, officers will be visiting delivery depots across the county to provide reassurance and offer key crime prevention advice.

This year’s operation will launch on Wednesday 1 December and run into the New Year.

As part of the operation, plans have been put in place that will see both marked and unmarked police vehicles patrolling a number of key routes near to distribution centres across the county.

Detective Chief Inspector Clare Coleman, who is leading the operation, said: “More people are choosing to order presents online, meaning that there will be more delivery vehicles out on our streets than ever before. 

“So far, here in Cheshire we have only seen a small number of incidents involving thefts from couriers and delivery vehicles and we are committed to doing all we can to keep it this way.

“As part of our work we’re also encouraging couriers to play their part by ensuring they take all the necessary steps to reduce their chances of becoming a victim.”

Delivery drivers are being urged to help play their part by following a number of simple steps to reduce the chances of falling foul of thieves.

The steps include – 

  • Ensure your vehicle is in proper operating condition.
  • If you spot a suspicious vehicle following you, do not exit the vehicle, keep doors locked, keep moving, and call the police.
  • Agree a daily delivery plan with employers or, if independent, with a family member and check with them on a regular basis. If possible, when out delivering consider using alternative routes rather than always going the same way.
  • Ensure your mobile phone is fully charged.
  • If something does not look or feel right, do not make the delivery. Call your employer and explain the circumstances.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and avoid areas that are not well lit. Park under a streetlight if possible.
  • Carry a torch to illuminate dark areas and walkways.
  • If you feel threatened, activate the panic alarm on your vehicle to draw attention to the situation.
  • Always lock your vehicle - even if you are only leaving it for a short period of time. It would take a matter of seconds for a thief to get into your van and make off with something valuable.
  • If your vehicle has rear windows consider darkening them to prevent passers-by from seeing what’s inside. 
  • Make sure that no valuables are left on display when leaving your courier van (for any amount of time), and fully close all the windows.
  • Install a ‘Police follow this van’ sticker on your vehicle to make officers aware of who you are.
  • If you have a keyless van consider using a key blocking pouch to prevent other people from accessing your vehicle while you are handing over parcels.
  • Consider installing a tracker – if the worst were to occur and your vehicle were to be stolen, a tracker would enable officers to quickly locate it.
  • Install additional security features – Doors are one of the most vulnerable areas on delivery vans and they can sometimes be forced open, so consider installing a stoplock or a slam lock to help make it harder for criminals to get inside your vehicle.
  • If an emergency occurs, remain at the scene only if it is safe. Dial 999 and wait for the police to arrive at the scene.

DCI Coleman added: “Delivery drivers provided an invaluable role throughout the coronavirus pandemic, helping to deliver vital supplies to some of the most vulnerable people in our communities, so it is only right that we all do what we can to protect them.

“As well as police, local residents also have a role to play by reporting any suspicious activity and always ensuing that somebody is at home when any parcels are delivered.

“By working together we can all help to reduce the chances of falling victim to these unscrupulous thieves, and help ensure everyone gets their deliveries they want this Christmas.”

Anyone looking to report any suspicious activity is urged to contact Cheshire Police on 101 or online at:

https://www.cheshire.police.uk/tua/

In an emergency always dial 999.

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