Page last updated at 01:06 GMT, Thursday, 30 July 2009 02:06 UK

Plea to tackle rising lorry theft

Police say 50 heavy goods vehicles were hijacked by thieves last year

Thousands of lorry drivers are calling for better protection from thieves who target the goods they transport.

Organisation Truckersworld says thefts from lorries have risen by 63% in the past year, with most taking place while drivers are parked up and asleep.

Freight crime is believed to cost the economy some £250m a year and drivers say that unless action is taken that cost will be passed on to consumers.

The government says it has carried out research on lorry parking in England.

Truckersworld is lobbying ministers to demand more secure overnight parking.

The chief executive of the Road Haulage Association, Geoff Dunning, agreed that theft from heavy goods vehicles was on the increase and often involved violence.

Police blame organised criminal gangs who are often armed with knives and last year 50 vehicles were hijacked by thieves.

In recent years, campaigns have been run to warn HGV drivers about the risks of parking in lay-bys overnight.

Signs in numerous languages have been placed at the most high-risk sites telling both British and foreign drivers of the dangers.

The Department of Transport said it understood the "importance of parking facilities in enabling drivers and operators to work safely and efficiently".

"That is why, last year, we embarked upon research in to the provision of lorry parking in England," said a spokesperson.

"This research is now nearing completion and further details will be release in Autumn 2009."

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