A client became aware that one of his lorries had experienced a drop-in fuel economy. He had a suspicion that one of the drivers was siphoning fuel from the vehicle. At the time of this case, fuel was about £1.50 per litre, and therefore the cost to the business significant. The client decided to investigate to see whether the driver was siphoning fuel and whether the theft ended there. If he was stealing fuel, then what else was he stealing? They began their own internal investigation by looking at the tracker report on the lorry. The report showed that every Thursday morning after being collected from the warehouse at 4am, the lorry was driven three miles to a remote spot where it stopped for several minutes before travelling a mile to the driver’s home address where again it stopped for a couple of minutes.
Whilst tracking devices are very good, they can be 10 to 20m out from showing the exact location of a stopped vehicle, so they needed to gather more concrete proof. Expert Investigations met with the client and examined the tracker report. The following Thursday a covert observations team positioned themselves in the rural location where the vehicle had been stopping. Over the next two Thursdays they identified exactly where the vehicle was stopping; clearly outside the driver’s home address. On the third Thursday, the observations team dug themselves into the undergrowth with a night camera system and observed the driver turn up, go into the undergrowth and retrieve three large petrol cans that had clearly been left there previously. 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 waiting at the driver’s home address, where they saw him, remove the cans from the lorry and take them into his garage.
The observation teams observed and filmed this for three consecutive weeks and then liaised with the police, so that on the fourth week when the driver was carrying the cans of fuel into his home address he would be arrested. The driver was subsequently charged with £30,000 of fuel theft. The benefit in reacting quickly and gathering solid evidence was essential in proving this case and giving our client, the best opportunity to remove the thief from their organisation.