Following TAPA EMEA’s newly-released Incident Information Service (IIS) Annual Report for 2017 showing a 10.3% increase in recorded cargo crimes in the region last year, 2018 got off to an ominous start with freight losses up by a further 18.5% year-on-year in January.

The 179 reported incidents last month compared to 151 in January 2017.

Cargo crimes were recorded in 15 countries across the EMEA region in the past month, producing a total loss value of €8,020,896 for the 144 or 80.4% of reports providing financial data. The average loss, based on all crimes with a value, however, fell by 52.7% over the corresponding month last year to €55,700.

14 of the crimes added to the TAPA IIS database in January were major cargo thefts with loss values in excess of €100,000. They had a combined value of €3,775,805 and an average loss of €269,700. TAPA EMEA has been asked not to share any information on three of these crimes. The remaining 11 involved values and losses of:


The loss of a shipment of handbags in a Theft from Vehicle crime in Milton Keynes, United Kingdom, on 23 January. Thieves forced their way into a parked and attended HGV and semi-trailer that had stopped in an unsecured parking location on an industrial estate.


Another Theft from Vehicle in the UK and another attack on a parked and attended truck in an unsecured parking place. In this crime on 4 January, offenders cut the tarpaulin side of the vehicle in Lichfield, Staffordshire, and stole its cargo of headphones. 


Two trailers loaded with 44 tonnes of chocolate were stolen in the German town of Freiburg, Baden-Württemberg, on 26 January. Once again, thieves targeted a vehicle stopped in an unsecured parking location. 


Few details were recorded on this Theft of Trailer and its cargo of unspecified goods in Mörarp, Helsingborg, in Sweden’s Skåne County on 21 January.


Fraud was the type of incident recorded for this Deceptive Pick-up of cargo from an Origin Facility in Altfeld, Bavaria, in Germany. Both the company that made the collection and the unspecified cargo disappeared soon after the goods were picked up on 9 January. 


Thieves cut the curtain side of a truck in an unsecured parking place in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, in the UK on 24 January and were able to steal computer products.


Intelligence reported to TAPA’s IIS stated that offenders smashed false CCTV cameras and removed heavy concrete barriers in front of security gates at an Origin Facility in Ecclesfield, South Yorkshire, in the UK, to access a secured HGV semi-trailer storage yard. In this crime on 13 January, thieves escaped with five flat-bed trailers loaded with metal products. They are believed to have used several tractor units to remove the cargo from the site.     


On 19 January in Redditch, Worcestershire, UK, another case involving Deception resulted in the loss of Clothing & Footwear products. According to the incident report, a driver delivered a loaded semi-trailer to a point-of-sale and waited for potential purchasers to examine the cargo. Offenders were able to subsequently steal the detached and loaded trailer. 


Clothing & Footwear was also stolen in Basildon, Essex, in the UK on 9 January, from a vehicle in an unsecured parking place. Typically, the thieves cut the curtain side of the truck to access the goods. 


A vehicle loaded with metal girders and sheets of metal was stolen from a Services 3rd Party Facility in Brackley, Northamptonshire, in the UK on 24 January. The secured and unattended HGV and semi-trailer was parked in a transport yard at the time.


Metal also disappeared from a parked and attended truck and semi-trailer parked in a layby in Raunds, Northamptonshire, UK, on 17 January. Thieves broke the rear door locks and seals of the vehicle to steal its cargo of metal beams.


TAPA’s IIS also recorded a further 31 crimes with loss values of between €50,000 and €100,000. The average loss for these crimes – based on their overall total of €2,087,688 – was €67,344. 29 or 93.5% of these incidents occurred in the United Kingdom. There were also single crimes in this loss range in Denmark and Belgium. In the latter crime, on 11 January, thieves stole 22 pallets of Toys/Games valued at €63,283 from a truck that stopped in an unsecured parking location at a gas station in Ruisbroek in Flemish Brabant.

In the UK on 29 January, offenders also threatened a truck driver with a knife as they stole Phones from his vehicle at a location in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire. 

In 24 or 77.4% of these incidents, thieves cut open the tarpaulin sides of trucks to steal products. All but one of the crimes took place when vehicles stopped in unsecured parking places. The one exception involved the theft of televisions worth €68,930 from a secured parking location in Newark-on-Trent in Nottinghamshire, UK.

Products targeted in the €50,000 and €100,000 loss range were:

·        Clothing & Footwear – 6 incidents with a combined loss value of €403,113

·        Car Parts – 4 incidents and a total loss of €264,495

·        Computers/Laptops – 3 incidents, total value of €227,373

·        Food & Drink – 3 incidents, total value of €158,823

·        Furniture/Household Appliances – 2 incidents, total value of €121,152

·        Metal – 2 incidents, total value of €106,602

·        Phones – 2 incidents, total value of €159,185

·        Tools/Building Materials – 2 incidents, total of €173,140

·        Tyres – 2 incidents, total of €136,844

·        Bicycles – 1 incident and a loss of €91,957

·        Miscellaneous – 1 incident and a loss of household goods valued at €61,214

·        Pharmaceuticals – 1 incident with a loss value of €69,275

·        Toys/Games – 1 incident and a loss of €63,283

·        Unspecified – 1 incident and a loss of €51,232

The UK and Sweden continued to record most crimes

As in January 2017, the UK and Sweden were the two countries with the highest rates of cargo crimes recorded to TAPA’s IIS last month, albeit with a significant gap between their respective totals. Thanks once again to proactive incident intelligence sharing by UK law enforcement agencies, TAPA collated information on 137 new cargo thefts in the UK in January 2018, up from 116 a year ago. Sweden was the only other country with a double-digit incident rate with 10 crimes, compared to 18 in the same month a year ago.

In Sweden, all crimes involved either Theft from Vehicle or Theft of/from Trailer. Goods stolen in these crimes included electronics, chocolate, motor oil, coffee, computers and cosmetics.

France recorded the third highest number of incidents. One of these cases on 17 January repeated a similar trend seen emerging in 2017 of attacks on Last Mile deliveries of Tobacco products. In this particular case, eight offenders threatened the driver with iron bars and tear gas before stealing the shipment of cigarettes.

Five cargo loss incidents reported in Africa

Five losses were recorded in Africa in January, led, not surprisingly by South Africa, where the three reported incidents were all truck hijackings. Two of these crimes stated the M.O. of Violent or Threat with Violence as thieves targeted bedding, bread and cigarettes. Nigeria and Zimbabwe were the other two countries in Africa to suffer cargo crimes. One of these, in Harare on 30 January, saw four offenders use a crane to break into a heavily-protected warehouse and steal 300 metres of copper cable. No value was given for this loss.

Goods stolen in 16 IIS product categories

Theft of Food & Drink goods headed a list of 16 TAPA IIS product categories with losses in January with 28 incidents, 15.6% of the monthly total.

Two other products suffered 10 or more losses:

·        Clothing & Footwear – 18 incidents or 10.1%

·        Car Parts – 13 incidents or 7.2%

Intelligence for last month’s types of incidents, the locations of cargo crimes, and the modus operandi used by cargo thieves showed a now familiar picture in terms of the highest type in each category:

·        Type of incident: Theft from Vehicle – 143 crimes in January or 79.9% of the total

·        Type of location: Unsecured Parking – 132 incidents or 73.7% of the monthly total

Type of M.O: Intrusion – 145 cases or 81% of all recorded attacks on supply chains