Wolverhampton-based sandwich maker Authentic Bite has had to provide a court with a formal undertaking to stop using bread baskets belonging to Bakers Basco to transport its sandwiches without permission. It has also been ordered to pay £6,927.55 in damages and costs.
GPS tracking technology played a major role in the investigation and subsequent legal hearing, which took place at Wolverhampton County Court. Evidence included a log and an aerial satellite plot showing the movement of Bakers Basco equipment fitted with a tracking device around the defendant’s premises over a 24-day period, from the production line through despatch and then outside to the loading area.
“Our recovery team tracked a sizeable amount of our equipment being used by Authentic Bite, through old-fashioned surveillance and also the latest GPS technology,” explained Steve Millward, general manager of Bakers Basco. “It was clear they had been appropriated to transport and store Authentic Bite’s own produce. Our baskets and trolleys are meant for transporting bread, and only bread, safely, cost-effectively and in an environmentally-friendly way, and should not be used without our consent or for any other purpose.”
Authentic Bite has been caught before using Bakers Basco baskets and wheeled trolleys without authorisation to transport sandwiches and has historically made payments totalling £1,400 in damages.
At the hearing in Wolverhampton, Bakers Basco also submitted evidence of obstruction and provocative behaviour as part of its application for an Injunction.
Deputy District Judge Markland ruled that the injunction would be in place for an indefinite term, and explained to Authentic Bite Ltd’s director, Jarnail Singh, the serious nature of the situation and the consequences of failing to keep his promises, including being fined, having assets seized or being sent to prison for contempt of court.
Bakers Basco is a company set up to manage and license a pool of bread baskets and dollies for the use of bakers. This allows for sharing of costs, a common design which optimises space in delivery vehicles and reduces ‘food miles’, as well as reducing waste from disposable packaging ending up in landfill. Around 25 bakeries, ranging from small to very large, are currently licensed to use the equipment.
Bakers Basco bread baskets and trolleys are clearly marked as the company’s property. Usually, when it becomes aware that its equipment is being used without permission, a simple request to return the items is enough. However, in cases where companies hold on to Bakers Basco’s property after being asked to return it, legal action is taken.
It introduced GPS technology last year to help in its fight against the theft and abuse of bread baskets from its baker network, and has recently announced the roll-out of new improved tracking devices which have battery lives 10 times as long as the first generation’s. The new GPS trackers will allow the company to track the movements of its equipment even more effectively.
Implementing GPS tracking across its basket fleet has significantly reduced losses and improved recovery levels by its special tactical team which is dedicated to finding and reclaiming missing equipment.