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Rogue lorry drivers targeted in smuggling crackdown
4:45pm Wednesday 4th December 2013 in News
Rogue lorry drivers are to be targeted in a police crackdown on smuggling.
Operation Hedgehunter is being launched in Sussex to tackle the importation into the county of drugs, guns, illegal tobacco, dangerous fake alcohol - and people.
Crime gangs running haulage firms are believed to be responsible for smuggling illegal items into the country hidden inside regular loads.
Operation Hedgehunter is being run by Crimestoppers and Sussex Police.
It aims to encourage people working in the haulage industry and members of the public to report on hauliers who are operating outside of the law and industry regulations.
From this week police will be carrying out highly visible roadside examinations of heavy goods vehicles being driven across the county to check if they are carrying any illegal loads or have committed any traffic offences.
The operation is being launched at STAMMTISCH, a monthly truck driver workshop run by Sussex Police where officers speak to hauliers about road issues at the M23 services at Pease Pottage.
PC Phil Badman, of Sussex Police, said: "Through the STAMMTISCH meetings we have built up an excellent relationship with members of the haulage industry travelling through Sussex.
"The vast majority of lorry drivers are decent, law-abiding people who are simply trying to do their job and make a living legally.
"They are not able to compete on a level playing field because some of their rivals are using the proceeds from organised crime to expand their business unfairly, such as by bringing deliveries of drugs or counterfeit alcohol into the country.
"We aren't trying to put extra restrictions on lorry drivers. We're trying to make their lives easier by getting their criminal colleagues off the roads – and we need help to do it.”
If you know anything about smuggling in Sussex call 101, email firstname.lastname@example.org, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or or give information online anonymously at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.
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