Our client became aware that one of his lorries was running an uneconomically with fuel. He had a suspicion that it may be the driver who was siphoning the fuel from the vehicle. At the time of this case, fuel was about £1.50 per litre and therefore the cost of the business significant, in addition the fact that a driver may be stealing from the company was disturbing as clearly this showed a dishonest employee within the organisation, an employee who was probably not dedicated to the organisation.
If the driver was siphoning fuel and stealing then what else was he stealing in the organisation so the clients decided to conduct an investigation. They began their own internal investigation by looking at the Tracker report on the lorry which showed every Thursday morning after being collected from the warehouse at 4 AM it was driven 3 miles to a very remote spot where it stopped for several minutes before travelling a mile to the driver’s home address where again stopped for two minutes.
Whilst tracking devices are very good they can be 10 to 20 m 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 and on 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 and that it was clearly stopping outside the driver’s home address.
On the third Thursday the observations team dug themselves into the undergrowth with a night camera system and the observed the driver turn up, go into the undergrowth and retrieve 3 large petrol Jerry 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 several minutes later arrive from siphoning the petrol and 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 and made an arrangement that on the fourth week when the driver was carrying the cans of fuel into his home address he was arrested. The driver was subsequently charged with £30,000 with the fuel theft.
The benefit in reacting quickly and gathering solid evidence can be essential in proving your case and giving you the best opportunity to remove the thief from your organisation.