Harwich: Lorry drivers urged to help in the fight against organised crime

Harwich International Port

Harwich International Port - Credit: Archant

Lorry drivers using Harwich International Port are being urged to help combat terrorism, organised crime and smuggling.

The Essex Police initiative, called Project Yali, was first set up in March in south Essex at Tilbury and Purfleet Ports but today will be extended to Harwich to encourage lorry drivers and the wider port community to report suspicious activity.

Police believe in a bustling port environment, lorry drivers and port workers are ideally placed to support authorities in the battle against international crime rings who import contraband such as tobacco and alcohol as well as those criminals engaged in people smuggling, drug dealing and terrorism.

This new initiative aims to target those working in transportation to exchange information and intelligence about criminal activity.

It is being run in partnership with the Border Force, Crimestoppers, Harwich International Port, DSV, TaylorMade Security, DFDS and Stena Line.

Detective Inspector Paul Bartlett of Essex Police said: “We don’t face any major problems at Harwich at the moment and our aim is to keep it that way, and to protect the borders.

“We will be speaking to lorry drivers coming in and out of the port and reminding them that if they have any information relating to a crime they can report it through Crimestoppers anonymously, and stand to gain up to £1,000 reward for this intelligence.

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“Lorry drivers are well-placed to spot things - it’s not unheard of that drivers are approached in foreign ports to smuggle packages into the country. It could be drugs or anything.

“We will be explaining how they can help and also the dangers and penalties of getting involved.”

assistant director for Border Force at Harwich, Mark Kennedy, added: “This is about legitimate, honest businesses taking a stand against those whose illegal practices are putting lives in danger, aiding organised crime and profiting at the expense of the law-abiding majority

“Those working in the transport industry are key to providing us with the information we need to take action – a short, confidential call to Crimestoppers is all it takes.”