An unknown number of Christmas deliveries has gone missing, some before they were entered into the computer systems of the parcel delivery firms, making them untraceable.
One disgusted driver said: "It's a similar story with many delivery firms. My firm (EDITOR: A large, national concern) did not bother to install proper security, so an organised gang was allowed to have free range at one of the firm's hubs, taking many parcels before they had been entered into our systems. The result is the firm lost an unknown number of parcels. They then decided to improve security, but that was far too late, as the damage had already been done."
An industry insider said: "There have been other firms who have decided to take extra temporary staff on, but who have not even done any security checks on them. For all they know they could have employed people with convictions for theft, dishonesty or sexual offences or perhaps even drink driving. But because they chose to cut corners, they would never know."
Vulnerable parcels and packages targeted by greedy thieves have included high value electronic goods, foodstuffs, DVDs, books, etc. The industry insider added: "Nothing has been safe. One of the problems is that if someone in -for example, Devon, entrusts their parcel to a major national carrier for delivery in the Midlands or the North, they expect that major, national carrier, to deliver the parcel. What the major national carrier do not tell their customers is that the final delivery (or more accurately in some cases, lack of delivery) is put into the hands of a somewhat dodgy and shady local delivery firm who have a cavalier attitude to bothering with CRB checks on their drivers.
"And some of their drivers look upon Christmas as a special bonus time, keeping their eyes open for certain packages that they will divert to either a fence or (and in many cases they genuinely do not see anything wrong in this) in the case of foodstuffs and frozen or chilled deliveries, take them home for their families to consume.
"The result is great losses to small, specialist retailers who rely on Christmas orders for the vast majority of their income and disappointed families who have had their Christmas goods diverted by thieves."
What can be done about this?
"If you are in business and need to make deliveries always insist that the delivery firms that you use only employ properly CRB checked drivers and depot staff. If they can't, do not use them. Anecdotal evidence would suggest that there is less danger of you use the parcel delivery services of the Royal Mail. The Post Office or Parcel Force. Yes, they might be a little more expensive, but perhaps there's a good reason for that?
"If you experience problems with deliveries of parcels and their seems to be a pattern do not be reticent in involving the police. Obviously, firms who have no proper policy with employing honest, verifiable staff, or who deliberately flout their own rules for the sake of expediency or cutting corners and therefore, their costs, would not welcome the involvement of the police. Well, that's too bad. You might also need to check on their business insurance. A few claims against them might serve to remind them of their responsibilities to their clients and the customers of their clients."