Figures show that the number has risen from 1,432 in 2013 to almost 3,000 last year – and, says CCTV system supplier SmartWitness, hauliers are turning to its camera technology and sensors to alert drivers to the presence of stowaways and, in turn, avoid £2,000 on-the-spot fines.
The company says sales of its TruckProtect rear trailer cameras and sensor systems have risen by 90% in recent years and by 300% for its interior infrared cameras.
The sensors alert drivers when there is movement at the rear of the trailer, which automatically turns on the in-cab camera. There are also heat-sensing cameras for inside the trailer which can give night vision footage and detect the presence of bodies. The system will also send a text message to the driver if he is away from the vehicle to let him know if the sensors have been activated.
In one case last year, a lorry driver was issued with a £19,500 fine, despite calling police when he discovered people inside his trailer while on the M25. The haulier was offered no reduction in fine for informing the authorities so, says SmartWitness, it is vital that drivers are forewarned before they arrive in the UK.
Paul Singh, CEO of SmartWitness, says: “Several smaller British haulage firms have been taken close to going out of business by fines for having illegal stowaways completely without their knowledge.
“Many have been forced to cut their cross channel work during the summer months but the ones that have to continue work on the continent have felt it necessary to increase security measures on their vehicles to avoid stowaways breaking into their vehicles at ports in northern Europe.”