The Federation of Wholesale Distributors’ (FWD) Criminal Intelligence Database is proving its worth, after four arrests were made in just eight days as a result of collated information passed to the police.

One man was arrested on December 31 after a black Ford Focus, suspected of being involved in 18 incidents reported through the FWD database, was stopped by police in West Bromwich. A further three men were held on January 9 after FWD provided a description of a vehicle which was tracked by police and stopped in Stafford. The car was found to contain large quantities of stolen cigarettes.

Set up just nine months ago, the database collates intelligence on crimes against members’ vehicles and premises, and shares details of suspected offenders with police. 

Up to 10 incidents are reported each week, including theft from customers’ vehicles and suspicious activity such as delivery vans being followed. FWD members share details of these incidents through a system of alerts.

Chief Executive James Bielby added: “The criminal database is helping members prevent crime against cash and carries, and catching those who attempt it. Now, with nine months of incident reporting behind us, FWD will make the case with government and ACPO [Association of Chief Police Officers] for crimes of this kind to be given greater priority when allocating police resources.

“Many of the incidents against members involve the theft of tobacco products which ultimately find their way onto the black market, so we believe there is a strong case to be made for detering criminals from targeting wholesalers.

“By providing the authorities with detailed analysis of incidents we will ensure that further arrests and prosecutions follow, and with the help of the police and the courts we will prevent loss to our members and their customers while protecting communities from illegal and irresponsible distributors.”