FWD urges police to do more to tackle tobacco theft

Bielby: “More must be done to track the thieves”

The Federation of Wholesale Distributors is calling on the police to step up their efforts to combat tobacco-related crime against wholesalers and their customers.

The FWD has identified tobacco as the main target for theft in the sector and believes the prevention of stolen cigarettes reaching the black market should be a priority.

Wholesalers currently feed details of criminal activity into a shared Criminal Intelligence Database, which is collated by FWD. The database includes details of vehicles used in theft from delivery lorries and from retailers in C&C car parks, and is shared with the police. However, wholesale members have expressed disappointment with police responses. Some claimed not to have received a response for up to 72 hours after reporting crimes against vehicles, and that attending officers had failed to capture the full details of crimes at premises.

“Crimes where staff or customers are threatened but there is no physical violence are classified as theft from motor vehicle, but given the value of the products stolen, we believe more must be done to track down the thieves,” said FWD chief executive James Bielby.