Over £500m worth of lorry cargo was stolen last year. While not all of this will be covered, the figure does not include business interruption and contingent claims.

PLC Consultancy Services direct ...

Over £500m worth of lorry cargo was stolen last year. While not all of this will be covered, the figure does not include business interruption and contingent claims.

PLC Consultancy Services director of transport and security Frank Heinrich-Jones, who liaises between the insurance industry and the police national stolen lorry load desk, said this was a conservative estimate. "Police don't always record the value of the stolen load."

Heinrich-Jones said insurers who use the service notified the police and they then recorded the incidents. But he said the police did not receive all necessary notification so could not calculate the cost of claims.

"Some insurers are not bothered to raise awareness," he said. "We are doing all we can about raising awareness with the insurers."

"£144m was the estimate for the goods in 2001, but there are many other hidden costs," he said. "There is the disruption to the supply chain, loss of corporate image and if the goods are not in the retail outlet, the company will lose shelf space and potential customers. There is potential product liability and the investigation takes time and effort, along with the administrative time for claims and the lost opportunities for companies dealing with the claims."

He said the police collated information regarding theft of or from goods vehicles on a national basis and provided a networking service in identifying suspect goods.

Heinrich-Jones said Royal & SunAlliance was a "leading supporter" of the service.