Having identified that one particular business vehicle was running notably uneconomically, our client had a suspicion that the driver might be siphoning the fuel from the lorry. The cost to the business was significant, but equally disturbing was the fact that a trusted employee might be stealing from the company.
If the employee was indeed siphoning fuel then what other misconduct might be occurring?
The client began their investigation internally, looking at the Tracker report on the lorry. This showed that after being collected from the warehouse at 4am every Thursday, the vehicle it was driven three miles to a remote spot where it stopped for several minutes. It then travelled a further mile to the driver’s home address where it stopped again for two minutes. But while tracking devices are very good, they can be 10-20 metres out from showing the exact location of a stopped vehicle. Additional proof was needed and we were asked to act.
Having examined the Tracker report ourselves we positioned a covert observations team in the rural location where the vehicle had been stopping. Over the two Thursdays we identified exactly where the vehicle was stopping, and that it did indeed go on to stop outside the driver’s home address.
On the third Thursday an observations team dug themselves into the undergrowth with a night camera system at the remote location and observed the driver go into the undergrowth to retrieve three large petrol jerry cans. The team then observed him turn on a head torch, produce a pipe, and siphon fuel from the vehicle into the three cans.
A second observation team was then waiting at the driver’s home address, where they saw him arrive several minutes later and take the cans into his garage.
Having observed and filmed this for three consecutive weeks, we then liaised with the police to make arrangements for an intervention.
On the fourth week the driver was arrested as he carried the cans of fuel into his home address. He was subsequently charged with the theft of fuel to a value of £30,000.
This case highlights again the need to react quickly and gather solid evidence if you are to properly prove your case and give your organisation the best opportunity to remove a thief from your organisation.