Industry suppliers play a vital role in the growth of the industry, but are you risking your reputation by supporting the illegal operators? (LTU), provides suppliers to the passenger transport industry with a wide range of services from our experienced team. We have formed an in-depth knowledge of the licensed transport trade through the management of information from a wide-range of sources.

LTU’s business functions include an Intelligence and Investigations Team, who adopt the principles of the National Intelligence Model (NIM). NIM is a business model used by law enforcement agencies, and increasingly by other intelligence-focused partners, to ensure the effective and efficient collection, recording, analysis, dissemination and retention of information. This enables LTU to prioritise the investigation of not just licensing  issues but increasingly fraud and insurance irregularities and allocate the resources to deal with them accordingly.

Information coming into LTU is processed and cross-referenced with existing data. It may be subject to further research and analysis, before being used internally or disseminated to relevant parties such as government agencies and national associations. A key focus of our intelligence work is to promote and engage in inter-agency information sharing.

Gathering  data requires a methodical approach and subsequently, sifting through the swathes of material and identifying pieces of evidence requires a high degree of knowledge and skilful judgement. We are  experts and pride ourselves  on not missing anything. We work within the strict confines of the law and will never compromise our or your integrity

We are passionate about the industry and supporting legitimate operators and drivers, but we are constantly faced with poor regulation and an unfair playing field. It should be impossible for those who operate outside the law to provide passenger transport services in the UK, to obtain prestigious contracts or to benefit financially at the detriment of legal operators. Sadly, the UK is struggling with an epidemic of illegal operators or those who are involved in illegal or criminal activities.

The legal side of the trade struggle to grow or obtain contracts, especially when faced with competing against illegal operators who are able to undercut them on price. LTU has a network of sources across the UK who work with us helping to build intelligence on the industry.

Fraud is a major problem in the UK. In fact it is now the biggest single crime committed in the UK, according to the Office for National Statistics latest report. Tackling fraud by government agencies takes a fragmented approach with criminals able to keep one step ahead of the authorities without much effort.

LTU takes crime very seriously, as it affects suppliers, the trade and consumers who can all be victims. A poor lack of education and understanding of the taxi, minicab, private hire and chauffeur industry creates further problems in raising awareness of the risks posed to the industry and consumers.

There is currently no will by the government to legislate or invest time, money or resources into supporting the legal side of the trade, whilst bringing those who either operate outside the law or act in a fraudulent way. LTU won’t standby and wait for a serious incident or worse, a death before taking a proactive, preventative approach.

Suppliers as previously stated provide important services or products to the passenger transport industry. All businesses need certain to products or services to operate – bank accounts, credit card payment systems, loans, overdrafts, vehicle finance and invoice finance and insurance to name just a few.


Vehicle fraud

Without vehicles the passenger transport wouldn’t exist. Vehicles are a major asset and if you choose to operate illegally you still need to obtain vehicles to commit your fraudulent service. LTU can help advise lender and leasing companies on how to protect their assets and stop them being used to provide an illegal service.

Leasing and finance fraud is not a victimless crime, but research conducted by LTU has found defrauding suppliers is easier than one would hope, thanks in part by a lack of understanding of the industry. The first and most obvious risk to asset finance, lending and leasing companies is car clocking, an epidemic which is UK-wide. With modern technology car clocking can cost as little as £80.00, but the cost to the UK economy is estimated to be in the region of £1 billion a year. According to statistics in the UK, one in twenty cars has been clocked throughout its life, but vehicle checking experts, state that one in twelve vehicles they check have a mileage discrepancy.

Research conclusively shows that the trade is able to manipulate the system to obtain vehicles on leasing deals as low as 10,000 miles per annum. Working with LTU, we can help suppliers understand the industry, significantly lowering risk for lenders in the UK.

LTU take a no tolerance approach to vehicle leasing and finance fraud. By taking a proactive approach through raising awareness, industry campaigns, investigations and journalism we hope to educate suppliers of the dangers they face.


Insurance Fraud

Drivers and operators look to save money by defrauding insurers by using incorrect information on proposal forms to obtain cheaper quotes. Some also take advantage of wedding insurance which is a fraction of the cost, compared to a premium for full hire and reward insurance. We have also found that vehicles are insured with none commercial insurance to carry passengers – standard social domestic and pleasure. This fraud has increased over the years thanks in part to the expansion of technology, such as APNR cameras.

Having any type of insurance, even policies that don’t cover the intended risk helps avoid detection for driving without insurance. Also, by not licensing their operation, vehicles or drivers, insurers can be providing worthless cover which goes undetected even in the event of an accident and insurance claim. A more proactive approach is needed through education and tightening up underwriting and claim management.

More transparency, including more specific details of what is covered and any exclusions – no licenses means no H&R insurance – on the MIB database would help police seize vehicles with passengers on board for no insurance if the operator, vehicle or driver were not licensed. Working with police forces across the UK to help educate should be also be a priority.


Finance fraud

The passenger transport industry is a target for crime by criminals intent on using the industry as a way to launder money and defraud suppliers. Finance fraud can cover a wide range of sectors, including; credit card merchant services, banking, overdraft, loans, invoice financing and asset finance.

Fraudsters are able to manipulate the system due to the lack of basic checks. Obviously checks are conducted in accordance with FCA regulations and affordability tests, but in a significant number of cases no checks were conducted on the legal status of a passenger transport company requiring their services.

LTU wants a proactive approach by financial institutions to help end the ability for illegal operators from obtaining vital funding to allow their illegal enterprises to thrive. By working closely with LTU, clients can utilise or experience and knowledge to investigate cases on their behalf or to complement in-house fraud departments.

LTU are committed to wiping out crime in the sector and support cases all the way through to court. LTU can help educate and train financial institutions to raise awareness of the legislation governing the passenger transport industry.


LTU offers ongoing support for suppliers and our services can be provided to individual companies or an a wider basis working alongside supplier trade associations. LTU are experts in fraud prevention and have previously worked with suppliers, government agencies, police forces and interested third parties to highlight, warn and take proactive steps to protect them against large-scale fraud in the UK.

LTU’s in-house investigations and intelligence department has a reputation for dealing with complex cases, specifically targeted at the passenger transport industry. The Secret Squirrel has built up a network covering the UK, enabling LTU to operate on a local and national level.

Using a combination of old-fashion detective work and investigative journalism, LTU investigations can help clients on a case by case basis covering a wide range of issues.