Man killed in ‘bust-up’ at Felixstowe was a lorry driver

A man who died after an ‘altercation’ at a lorry park next door to the Port of Felixstowe was a lorry driver who was sleeping in his cab, MailOnline can reveal.

Police arrested four men after the ‘suspicious’ death of the man early this morning at the haulage yard in Hodgkinson Road, Felixstowe, Suffolk. 

Paramedics were initially called to reports that a man was ‘in need of urgent medical attention’ at the lorry park at around 1.50am. They treated the man but he was pronounced dead at the scene. 

The cause of death is currently unexplained, but it is being treated as suspicious and four men have been arrested in connection with the incident. The four arrested men are being questioned at the Police Investigation Centre in Martlesham near Ipswich. 

Sources in the area confirmed to MailOnline this evening that the dead man was a lorry driver who was believed to have been staying the weekend in his cab.

A local driver said: ‘There are foreign drivers who sleep in their cabs when they are out on the road and continue to do so at the weekend. It means they can save money by not having to rent a property or pay for bed and breakfast when they are off duty. It looks like there has been some sort of bust-up between drivers.’

Police have cordoned off an area around a lorry and a trailer at the yard while investigations continue, and prevented anyone entering.

The incident comes amidst a build-up of cargo at Felixstowe, the UK’s biggest container port which handles around 40 per cent on containerised imports and exports, ahead of Christmas. 

Police at the scene of the lorry park in Hodgkinson Road beside the Port of Felixstowe, Suffolk

Police at the scene of the lorry park in Hodgkinson Road beside the Port of Felixstowe, Suffolk

Police at the scene of the lorry park in Hodgkinson Road beside the Port of Felixstowe, Suffolk

Police were contacted at 1.50am this morning, Sunday 17 October, to reports of a man in need of urgent medical attention at the Hodgkinson Road lorry park (pictured left)

Police were contacted at 1.50am this morning, Sunday 17 October, to reports of a man in need of urgent medical attention at the Hodgkinson Road lorry park (pictured left)

Police were contacted at 1.50am this morning, Sunday 17 October, to reports of a man in need of urgent medical attention at the Hodgkinson Road lorry park (pictured left)

Police at the scene of the lorry park in Hodgkinson Road beside the Port of Felixstowe, Suffolk

Police at the scene of the lorry park in Hodgkinson Road beside the Port of Felixstowe, Suffolk

Police at the scene of the lorry park in Hodgkinson Road beside the Port of Felixstowe, Suffolk

In recent weeks the Port of Felixstowe (pictured) has turned away ships carrying goods from Asia because of a backlog of containers caused by the HGV driver shortage

In recent weeks the Port of Felixstowe (pictured) has turned away ships carrying goods from Asia because of a backlog of containers caused by the HGV driver shortage

 In recent weeks the Port of Felixstowe (pictured) has turned away ships carrying goods from Asia because of a backlog of containers caused by the HGV driver shortage

Unions threaten MORE Christmas chaos: Unite seize on plans to relax rules for foreign HGV drivers to threaten more strike action – days after warning of walkout over pay 

Union chiefs are said to be preparing strike action for British HGV drivers after ministers backed plans to make it more attractive for foreign hauliers to work in the UK.

British businesses are said to be ‘appalled’ by Government-backed plans to allow overseas drivers make ‘unlimited journeys at low rates’ to combat shortages and save Christmas .

They say the move risks British labour being ‘undercut’ by cheaper foreign companies as national union Unite prepares to discuss potential strike action with hauliers, reports The Times.

In desperate efforts to plug the gaps amid a national driver shortage, the government have agreed to a relaxation in ‘cabotage’ rules – which currently limit EU-based companies to making a maximum of two trips in the UK within a week.

But Rod McKenzie, managing director at the Road Haulage Association, warned ministers would be allowing firms from abroad ‘do unlimited work at low rates, undercutting UK hauliers who are facing an acute driver shortage, rising costs and staff wages’.

Sharon Graham, Unite’s new leader whose trade body was accused of ‘holding Christmas hostage’, added that the treatment of British drivers was ‘nothing short of a disgrace’.

The news comes just days after thousands of supermarket and delivery drivers were to be consulted over a mass walkout – the largest strike threat of its kind since the notorious Winter of Discontent more than 40 years ago.

 

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In recent weeks the port has turned away ships carrying goods from Asia because of a backlog of containers caused by the HGV driver shortage. It is the busiest time of year for container ports as retailers import higher quantities of goods from China and the far east to sell in the lead up to Christmas.

The lorry park which has space for around 60 lorries is operated by the Ipswich-based Seven property and logistics group. The yard is hired out to a number of haulage companies who use it as a storage base for trucks. 

A Romanian lorry driver who arrived in his car and claimed that he had come to pick up a lorry was seen being turned away by officers at the gate.

A spokesman for Seven said: ‘The police have not given us any details.’ 

A Suffolk Police spokesman said: ‘Despite the best efforts of medical personnel, the man was sadly pronounced deceased at the scene a short time later.

‘The cause of death is currently unexplained, but it is being treated as suspicious and four men have been arrested in connection with the incident.

‘Following initial police enquiries, officers understand that the deceased had been involved in an altercation at the lorry park prior to his death.’ 

Detectives are appealing for anyone who was in the vicinity of the lorry park and Dock Gate Two, between midnight and 3am this morning and saw anything suspicious to make contact.

Any motorists who were driving in the area between the times stated above with a dashcam fitted in their vehicle, are asked to review their footage and inform police of anything that may be of significance – including any pedestrians captured in the vicinity of Dock Gate Two. 

It comes as families are warned of festive chaos amid a logjam at Southampton docks as unions threaten to hold Christmas hostage with a HGV drivers’ strike, supermarket shelves sit empty, toys prices surge and the energy crisis deepens. 

Britons were last week warned to start shopping for Christmas as concerns grow that supplies of toys, electrical goods and other products will be disrupted by the logjams at UK ports.

Retail leaders say the shortage of HGV drivers to carry loads from docks around the coast is threatening festivities and the wider economy.

Shipping giant Maersk has diverted some supersize vessels away from Felixstowe to alternatives on the Continent such as Antwerp and Rotterdam. The port, which handles 36 per cent of the country’s freight-container traffic, cited the lorry-driver shortage and the busy pre-Christmas period for a backlog that has containers piling up. 

Tim Morris, head of the Major Ports Group, which represents operators, said that despite the Government saying the supply chain crisis is getting better, we should not ‘fool ourselves’.

He told Sky News: ‘This week has seen improvements in what we call stack levels, so the amount of containers, for example, sat on the ground. But let’s not fool ourselves. It has been an extraordinarily busy 12 months now.

‘And what we’ve seen over the last week, fortnight, have been some of the UK supply chain congestion issues sort of matching up and catching ports… between surging global demand and shipping and very congested inland here in the UK.’ 

Rod McKenzie, managing director at the Road Haulage Association, warned ministers would be allowing firms from abroad ‘do unlimited work at low rates, undercutting UK hauliers who are facing an acute driver shortage, rising costs and staff wages’.

Sharon Graham, Unite’s new leader whose trade body was accused of ‘holding Christmas hostage’, added that the treatment of British drivers was ‘nothing short of a disgrace’. 

The recent supply chain crisis, which many fear will continue to cause empty shelves into the festive season, has given truckers ‘power’, the union said.

As a result, their representatives are demanding commitments from ministers to provide clean toilets and catering facilities at truck stops as well as a pay rise for veteran drivers, after new starters were offered salaries of £50,000 to get behind the wheel. 

In recent weeks the port has turned away ships carrying goods from Asia because of a backlog of containers caused by the HGV driver shortage. It is the busiest time of year for container ports as retailers import higher quantities of goods from China and the far east to sell in the lead up to Christmas

In recent weeks the port has turned away ships carrying goods from Asia because of a backlog of containers caused by the HGV driver shortage. It is the busiest time of year for container ports as retailers import higher quantities of goods from China and the far east to sell in the lead up to Christmas

In recent weeks the port has turned away ships carrying goods from Asia because of a backlog of containers caused by the HGV driver shortage. It is the busiest time of year for container ports as retailers import higher quantities of goods from China and the far east to sell in the lead up to Christmas

Containers sit on the tarmac at Felixstowe Port. The port, which handles 36% of the country's freight-container traffic, cited the lorry-driver shortage and the busy pre-Christmas period for a backlog that has containers piling up

Containers sit on the tarmac at Felixstowe Port. The port, which handles 36% of the country's freight-container traffic, cited the lorry-driver shortage and the busy pre-Christmas period for a backlog that has containers piling up

Containers sit on the tarmac at Felixstowe Port. The port, which handles 36% of the country’s freight-container traffic, cited the lorry-driver shortage and the busy pre-Christmas period for a backlog that has containers piling up

Unite is to ballot thousands of supermarket and delivery drivers over a mass walkout over the coming days - the largest strike threat of its kind since the notorious Winter of Discontent more than 40 years ago

Unite is to ballot thousands of supermarket and delivery drivers over a mass walkout over the coming days - the largest strike threat of its kind since the notorious Winter of Discontent more than 40 years ago

Unite is to ballot thousands of supermarket and delivery drivers over a mass walkout over the coming days – the largest strike threat of its kind since the notorious Winter of Discontent more than 40 years ago

Mr McKenzie told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that any agreement to allow foreign firms unlimited access across the UK could ‘sabotage’ British businesses.

He said: ‘I spoke to some of our members last night and they were appalled, ridiculous, pathetic, gobsmacked. 

‘This is about taking work from British operators and drivers and giving it to Europeans who don’t pay tax here and pay peanuts to their drivers.

‘The Government has been talking about a high wage, high skill economy and not pulling the level marked uncontrolled immigration and to them this is exactly what it looks like.’    

But Transport Secretary Grant Shapps downplayed any threat of strike action looming over the winter period, as MailOnline understands Unite’s representation in the haulier industry sits at around 15 per cent of all drivers.

He told the BBC: ‘We’re not in the 70s where there was a big unionised block of lorry drivers.’

It comes after comments from the head of the British Port Association explained a lack of HGV drivers had caused deliveries to slow down at Britain’s busiest ports.

Richard Ballantyne, chief executive of the British Port Association said haulier shortages had meant goods were ‘sitting around longer than you expect’ in Britain’s ports.

He added: ‘The lack of haulage isn’t stopping ports from doing things, it’s just slowing things down at the moment.

‘It’s a big problem across the board, not just in the container sector as we’ve seen this week but also the roll-on roll-off – where trailers are dropped at ports and collected by domestic drivers. 

‘We’re now also seeing a bit of an impact in the bulk sector. It’s not a major problem at the moment, but it could be, so we’re supporting some of the moves government are making to make it easier for people to come in an drive.’   

Link hienalouca.com

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