Lorry drivers are being head-hunted in greasy spoon cafes and offered £2,000 bonuses, states one trucker.

Amid a national shortage of HGV drivers, recruiters are allegedly offering drivers £2,000 bonuses and day rates equivalent to £100,000 a year to entice more drivers.

The shortage is believed to be triggered from a combination of the pandemic, Brexit and delays to approving licences, leaving supermarkets, restaurants and more scarce with supplies.

One trucker, called Barney, revealed the tactic on Naga Munchetty's BBC Radio 5 Live show, where he states he was offered the bonus in a “well-known transport café near Watford”.

He told the host: "Four days ago I was having my lunch in a well-known transport cafe near Watford and a very very well-dressed guy came in with a briefcase.

"To cut a long story short he offered me £2,000 if I would sign a two-year contract to work for his driver's agency.

"I was taken aback a bit. £2,000 is a lot of money. The figures he was coming up with are figures I've not heard of before.

"He (the agent) went other tables and I saw him leave with these other drivers, so I know they're signing them up."

He was offered five night shifts a week paying £27-per-hour, with time-and-a-half for Saturdays and double-time for Sundays (£54).

An hourly rate of £54 is £432 for typical eight-hour shift, £2,160 for a five-day week, £8,640 a month and £103,680 gross per year.

"In this industry, that is unheard of," Barney, of Milton Keynes. said. "I mean my boss doesn't even earn that.

"They are really looking for supermarket delivery drivers to do weekends, and the money is astronomical."

But Barney, a long-distance Class One driver with 17 years, was not interested in the offer as he loves his current job, despite it paying much less.

And he warned that people tempted by the lucrative offers could live to regret it.

He added: "Those jobs never last - I've seen people take them and they never last.

"We do need the industry to the looked at. These Johnny-come-lately figures are going to make a fortune out of it.

"My boss just doesn't understand how they can offer that money and he doesn't understand where that £2k signing on fee is coming from.

"It's not sustainable and lot of drivers and going to find themselves out of work."

The recruiters are believed to be working for employment agencies who supply supermarkets like Sainsbury's and Tesco who can offer the best rates.

James Bielby, Chief Executive of the Federation of Wholesale Distributors, acknowledged that offers like this were happening across the logistics industry.

Be he warned that the crisis will ultimately lead to higher prices for consumers.

"You've got agencies and logistics specialists making a lot of money out of this crisis," he told the show.

"It's not sustainable, no. Because it will mean ultimately that the cost of goods is going up."