Insignis Investigations’ Surveillance Team Stop Employee and Fuel Theft

An employee reaches for a fuel pump as he is caught carrying out employee theft

An employee was profiting from an unstustainable extra £20,000 on the company fuel bill.

A company director is concerened about his company fuel bill and company losses

Whilst the fuel bill soars and directors wonder why, employees are siphoning off the profits.

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Insignis Investigations conducts many types of corporate investigations. We always look closer.

When employee theft became real, and when fuel theft became a second income, our Investigators stepped in to give answers to the unexplained company losses.

It is fair to say, that the variety and experience gained over the 20 years in investigation work stands us alongside the best in the investigation field.”

— Andrew Chenery

MANCHESTER, GREATER MANCHESTER, UK, October 18, 2021 / — Dermot phoned our investigators in a state of desperation. He was one of two directors of a haulage company; it was a family firm but it employed people on both sides of the Irish Sea in Northern Ireland and Scotland. Company transport would regularly be ferried across the sea to Scotland, before making its way south into England and its ultimate destination.

Dermot’s company was profitable, but a question hung over the fuel bill every month. Dermot and his partner could not understand why their fuel bill was so high, despite seemingly having tight control of routes and planned breaks. The problem had to be employee theft.

Dermot took it upon himself to phone us and speak to us in confidence, not to undermine his partner but in an attempt to find a solution for his own suspicions.

The Problem in Numbers:

Dermot estimated that on average his vehicles were running at 8 miles per gallon. Working on a price of £1.30 per litre, Dermot estimated around £74 per 100 miles and a return trip from Londonderry to Reading, a trip of 1055 miles would cost approximately £780. This trip was route was taken 3 times per week, at a cost of £2340.

Yet, consistently, the fuel bill was in excess of this amount by £130, £390 per week. That is an unsustainable increase of £20,000 per year, an amount that if true could be being pocketed by Mr X, fuel theft seems to be paying well for someone.

After the Festivities had ended:

The 2nd of December was the first day back at work for Mr X, his route was planned, the same as always. Leave Ireland and arrive at Stranraer in the morning. He would then make the 400-mile journey in one day, arriving at the Reading depot in the late evening. He would then stay in Reading overnight before making the same return journey.

As sure as January brings sleet and rain, our team picked up the follow. We had strategically positioned two agents ahead on the route and also at the planned rest stops. The trucks can cover an excellent range on one tank of fuel, but it wasn’t unusual for the driver to top up before he got to Reading.
Not long into the drive the truck made an unscheduled stop in a large layby. Mr X stepped out of his cab, he walked over to a small transit van, he opened the rear doors of the van and took out five jerrycans and loaded them into the front of his cab before continuing on his journey south.

Before Reading, Mr X made a scheduled stop. This stop was thought to be the place where he would refuel and so we had pre-positioned an investigator at the site where he could covertly record Mr X. The truck stopped at the diesel pumps and Mr X began to refuel his truck. He then took out the five jerrycans, one by one, and filled each of them with diesel. He re-loaded his cab with the jerrycans and made his way to the kiosk to make payment.

We also needed proof of Mr X making the payment for the fuel himself, so one of the Investigators followed Mr X on foot into the shop. He stood behind Mr X in the queue, with a covert pinhole camera capturing the moment that he paid for the full amount of fuel, including the jerrycans, with his company fuel card.

Mr X was oblivious to the presence of the surveillance team and their cameras which had just captured the fuel theft, and so went his business as normal. He jumped back into his cab and continued to Reading.

That night was uneventful, as was the majority of the return journey back to Stranraer, until Mr X made another unscheduled stop in the same layby as the day before. This time Mr X unloaded the jerrycans full of diesel and he took them over the same small transit van. He loaded them into the rear, shut the doors and walked back to his cab and continued to the ferry port at Stranraer where our surveillance was to end.

So what evidence did we get? And who did the transit van belong to?

Our Private Investigators had carried out a sterling surveillance operation into this employee theft. We had successfully followed Mr X for two days undetected; we had obtained video footage of him taking the jerrycans from the transit van, filling the jerrycans with diesel, paying for the diesel with the company fuel card and depositing the jerrycans back into the transit van.

The investigation was not over though, we needed to know who the van belonged to and where it was going. Fortunately, as it was January the night drew in quickly and the darkness becomes our friend. We were able to return to the layby and safely place a GPS Tracker onto the transit to monitor its movements. As it turned out, the van belonged to Mr X and he had been using it to store full and empty jerrycans, he would then return on a day off and drive to several locations to offload the diesel, presumably for a small fee. If he was selling the diesel at half price, he would be making £10,000 a year on top of his salary.

We also conducted the same operation on two more occasions, with the exact same results, to show that the first occasion was not a one-off. In addition, though, we obtained video evidence of Mr X selling the fuel to back street garages and also selling to a male in a pub car park. We had solid evidence of fuel theft.

Dermot and his partner were happy to call Mr X for an interview, the discussed the fuel bill before showing him the videos we had obtained. Mr X had no choice but to hold his hands up to fuel theft, he was dismissed the same day.

Andrew Chenery
Insignis Investigations
+448000096423 ext.
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