CommercialFleet

Smart Witness see sales surge in wake of migrant crisis

Brian Yeardley Continental

In-cab camera provider, Smart Witness, have seen their sales rise by 20%, as operators seek extra protection against stowaways. 

Since rules were introduced in 2008 which meant operators could be hit with a fine as big as £2,000 per stowaway, hauliers have racked up £12,400,000 worth of fines in total, said Smart Witness. The company predicts this figure will continue to rise: during the strikes at Calais last week, more than 350 people attempting to illegally enter the UK were caught at the peak of the congestion.

Smart Witness international sales director, Mark Berry said: “We have received an unprecedented number of orders from UK haulage firms who are having to take precautionary measures to prevent illegal immigrants from getting on board their lorries. 

“With our 360-degree cameras, drivers can see the whole way round their HGV and are alerted immediately on the video screens in their cabs when stowaways are trying to break-in. Drivers receive a text message if there is a suspected break-in so they can take immediate preventative action."

Hauliers Brian Yeardley Continental, based in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, fitted SmartWitness cameras to its 51 lorries and its eight company cars in part due to the stowaway problem.

Managing director of Brian Yeardley Continental, Kevin Hopper said: "Last year we did over 5,000 crossing both ways across the English Channel and we had a total of five immigrants found in our trailers.

"Despite record numbers of stowaways trying to get in the UK, we have not had any incidents since fitting the Smart Witness cameras.

Hopper continued: "We take serious measures to ensure our vehicles are protected and sealed and our drivers are fully trained and aware of the immigrant problems in Calais and other ports

"Our trucks spend 90% of their time in Europe - mainly Spain, Portugal, France and Italy. We constantly try to ensure our drivers' safety and welfare is protected and stowaways are prevented from getting on board." he added.

"Our drivers are often away for up to eight weeks at a time and it gives me peace of mind knowing that when they are parked up, the cameras are there to help protect them from stowaways and thieves."

The cameras have also helped Brian Yeardley to reduce its insurance bill from £135,000 a year to £110,000, said Smart Witness.

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  • Darren - 06/07/2015 10:49

    "Since rules were introduced in 2008 which meant operators could be hit with a fine as big as £2,000 per stowaway". This really annoys me, it's not like the lorry drivers want these guys stowing aboard. And if the French port Authorities did their jobs properly, there would be no need to punish innocent hauliers for stowaways. All this does is drive up the costs of transporting goods as companies try to find ways to offset these fines so they can stay in business, adding to high fuel costs and taxation, this all gets pushed to the end purchaser who has to pay higher costs for goods. The fines should be levied against the French ports who have failed to do their jobs and stop migrants getting at the lorries in the first place. Video footage on the news; there appears to be little resistance against the migrants getting to lorries bound for the UK.

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