A range of new door locks has been introduced to prevent theft and illegal access to trailers as well as limiting the prospect of Border Force penalties, which regularly run into tens of thousands of pounds. Specialist lawyer speaks out.
Trailerlock is a device that protects the rear doors of semi-trailers and prevents intruders from breaking into vehicles either while moving, whilst in parking areas or during ferry crossings.
Trailerlock fits most semi-trailers and is ideal for international operators or any vehicles which are carrying high value goods or likely to be left unaccompanied. The lock – which comprises a case, anchoring bolt, security nut and a wrench, plus back-up wrench – easily fits over the existing door locking handle and is bolted to the frame of the trailer.
Manufactured from solid steel, simple to operate and resistant to mechanical interference, the system does not require additional modifications to the rear doors of semi-trailers, ensuring that the product can be deployed without further installation costs.
Additionally, for temperature-controlled vehicles, Fridgelock is an adjustable lock which simply and quickly fits across the locking bars and, like Trailerlock, it uses a security nut and comes with a pocket wrench. Once in place, the doors cannot be opened.
In addition to protecting the vehicle itself, Trailerlock protects the driver and the haulage company by reducing the possibility of Border Force penalties, which can run into many tens of thousands of pounds. Currently, ‘civil penalties for clandestine entrants’ amount to £4,000 per illegal entrant – £2,000 to be paid by the driver and £2,000 to be paid by the haulier. If these penalties are not paid, the vehicle can be seized and held until payment is made. If the penalty is not paid at all, the vehicle can be destroyed.
Once a company has been found to be carrying clandestine entrants, its vehicles are more likely to be searched again and, if clandestine entrants are found in the company’s vehicle again, the fine would be much higher.
Simon Clarke of Smith Bowyer Clarke, specialist road transport lawyers, says “We have around 10 new instructions per week where hauliers are seeking to appeal against the imposition of penalties for clandestine entrants, running into the tens of thousands of pounds. In some cases, having to pay these penalties would mean the company going out of business. We are well used to dealing with penalties in the range of £20,000 to £40,000; we have just closed one case where a haulier had imposed against him a £68,000 penalty, reduced by us on appeal to £20,000.”
Mr Clarke continues “Drivers may be vigilant in checking their vehicles, however thousands of illegal immigrants hide inside trucks heading for the UK each year. Despite Border Force accepting that a driver and haulier have no idea that the illegal immigrants were inside the truck, penalties will be imposed. One of the best ways to prevent this is by securing the doors of a trailer with a robust lock that cannot be disarmed.”
There is also a new security lock for the prevention of spare wheel theft. This simple device, which fits over the centre of the spare wheel, also uses a single security nut and again uses a small pocket wrench.
The driver keeps the pocket wrench in the cab and a spare wrench can also be held back at base, in case the trailer is hooked-up to another tractor.