CAMPAIGNERS have won the argument for dedicated truck stops on major motorways – after highlighting the cost of freight crime to the Yorkshire economy.

Transport Minister Mike Penning has confirmed UK Government plans to permit secure parking – reducing the risk of lorries and their loads being stolen.

The move comes after figures compiled by the police showed that goods and vehicles worth more than £624,000 have been stolen across Yorkshire during a six-month period.

Twelve incidents – or 6% of the total – were in Huddersfield while Doncaster, Pontefract, Leeds and Sheffield were also crime hotspots.

Incidents include the theft in April of two articulated lorries from a Slaithwaite industrial estate.

By law, lorry drivers must rest after four-and-a-half hours of driving – yet campaigners say safe, secure parking areas are lacking. This leads to drivers putting themselves and their loads at risk by parking in lay-bys or unguarded industrial estates.

Figures from regional development agency Yorkshire Forward showed that the region has 6,900 logistics businesses employing 91,000 people and contributing £4.2bn to the regional economy.

The government’s decision was welcomed by North Sea Freight Intelligent Transport Solutions, a group which sends “live” information to drivers via mobile phones and tablets.

Truck drivers without GPS-enabled in-vehicle devices or smartphones will be able to access the information through TV screens at dedicated truck stops.

There are such stops across Yorkshire and Humber.

Information will include secure parking locations, crime hotspots, foreign laws, route planning in the event of accidents and traffic congestion, weather alerts and border control document requirements. Desktop software is also being developed for transport operators.

The NS FRITS project is led by Sheffield-based charity People United Against Crime, which also heads the Logistics Security Network.

LSN research found that just under 50% of freight drivers have been a victim of crime while parked in insecure locations in the UK.

David Ransom, chief executive at Sheffield-based People United Against Crime, said; “We are delighted with Mike Penning’s announcement.

“The development of truck stops on the motorway network will help to tackle the important issue of safe parking.”

The NS FRITS technology is now being tested and the project will be completed by the end of the year. Trials of NS FRITS screens at truck stops will begin later this year.