“Private eyes” to target horsebox theft

  • An insurance company is using private detectives to help uncover horsebox scams

    Private detectives are being used to combat horsebox theft and keep insurance premiums down as part of a scheme initiated by South Essex Insurance Brokers (SEIB).

    Managing director Barry Fehler said: “About two years ago we realised we had to tackle the problem – thefts started to increase and we wondered where all the stolen lorries got to, so we brought in a detective.”

    Gavin Robertson, formerly a detective superintendent for the Metropolitan Police, who founded the private detective firm used by SEIB on his retirement, said: “Horseboxes are a unique type of vehicle because 99% are not purpose built and most have a former life as a commercial vehicle.”

    Some of the more serious frauds uncovered have involved horsebox dealers. For example, a Hertfordshire woman sold and delivered a lorry, returned later with duplicate keys, stole it, swapped its chassis or body with another, then resold it, repeating the process with several successive buyers.

    “It’s big business,” said Barry Fehler. “A few years ago, the common claims were fordropped gearboxes, and lorries were sometimes stolen to order – now it has turned into organised crime.”

    A hotline for information relating to horsebox crime has been set up, with all calls treated as confidential (tel: 01277 899987).

    Read the full story in this week’s Horse & Hound (17 October), or click here to subscribe and enjoy Horse & Hound delivered to your door every week.

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