The combined value of cargo losses from supply chains in EMEA recorded a second dramatic year-on-year increase in August 2018, according to incidents reported to TAPA’s Incident Information Service (IIS).

Following a 299.3% rise in July to €15.8 million, thefts in August produced a total loss of €13,881,505, a 182.7% increase over the figure of €4.9m in the same month of 2017. This resulted in an average loss for the 90.9% of thefts with a value of €81,178.

The eight major cargo crimes reported to TAPA’s IIS in the EMEA region last month produced a combined loss of €9,652,272 or an average per theft of €1,206,534. Additionally, intelligence was recorded on 25 further incidents with loss values of between €50,000 and €100,000, which accounted for €1,690,450 of August’s overall total, averaging €67,618 for each crime.

The total number of thefts from supply chains in the region in August rose 30.5% year-on-year to 188 in a month once again dominated by incident reports from the United Kingdom.

August saw three cargo thefts reported with seven-figure loss values:


A truck driver was stopped by an armed assailant just after loading his vehicle with a cargo of electronics products at an Origin Facility in the Amsterdam Airport Schiphol area on 14 August. The suspect forced him to drive off the premises onto the public road and stop. The driver was then tied up and placed into the boot of a car before being released later but the vehicle and its cargo have not been seen since. 


Fraud and a Deceptive Pick-up were recorded in the second seven-figure loss of the month. A transport company which had been reportedly sourced online agreed to collect and deliver the shipment of computer networking products from a business located in Normanton, West Yorkshire, in the UK. However, the fake carrier and the cargo subsequently disappeared on 17 August after the pick-up.   


An M.O. of Internal was reported after cigarettes were stolen from two trailers left in an unsecured parking location in Loire-Atlantique in western France. According to the intelligence report, the entire load of one trailer was stolen as well as part of the second trailer’s cargo after they were left in a parking lot over a weekend. The incident was reported to TAPA’s IIS on 20 August. 

The five remaining major losses last month were:


300 pallets of energy drinks were stolen is what was reported as a ’12-hour robbery’ at an Authorised 3rd Party Facility in Menen, West Flanders, in Belgium. The offenders were able to circumvent the security cameras after breaking into the storage facility on 12 August. 


On 11 August, thieves forced open the entry gate to a secured parking site in Bristol in the south west of the United Kingdom, and drove into the yard in a tractor unit, which they hitched up to a trailer and shipping container loaded with a cargo of fridge freezers.   


A shipment of televisions was taken from a parked and attended truck at Watford Gap motorway service area (MSA) in Northamptonshire in the UK on 8 August after thieves cut a hole in the vehicle’s tarpaulin curtain.  


In another ‘curtain cutting’ crime in the UK on 13 August, the offenders got away with fashion clothing after targeting a truck parked in a layby in Rothwell, Northamptonshire. 


The same M.O. was used by criminals to steal a shipment of tyres from a parked and attended truck in an unsecured parking location in Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire, on 20 August.

In the €50,000 to €100,000 loss range in August, the 10 highest value thefts all occurred in the United Kingdom, and all but one involved trucks parked in unsecured locations:

·        €99,008 – Televisions stolen from a truck parked in a layby on the A1 in Newark-on-Trent in the UK on 23 August

·        €97,608 – Vacuum cleaners taken after thieves cut open the curtain side of a truck on the M2 in Rainham, Kent, on 30 August

·        €86,538 – Tobacco products stolen after offenders broke into a secured yard in Tamworth, Staffordshire, on 16 August, and drove away a loaded trailer using their own tractor unit 

·        €86,449 – IT products were taken from a parked and attended truck in a layby in Rushden, Northamptonshire, on 16 August

·        €84,393 – Children’s toys were taken in this crime on 29 August, which was recorded as taking place at Woolley Edge MSA between junctions 38 and 39 of the M1 in Wakefield, West Yorkshire. Thieves cut open the tarpaulin side of the parked and attended vehicle 

·        €76,385 – Another curtain cutting crime resulted in the loss of copper products from a vehicle in Stowe, Buckinghamshire, on 10 August

·        €72,270 – Blyth MSA at junction 34 of the A1(M) in Worksop, Nottinghamshire, was the scene of this theft of fashion clothing from a truck on 28 August

·        €72,117 – On 11 August, offenders stole whisky from a parked trucked, which had stopped in a layby in Crick, Northamptonshire

·        €72,115 – A number of hybrid bicycles were taken from a truck which was left in an unsecured parking location on an industrial estate in Coleshill, Birmingham on 15 August

·        €72,087 – Thieves cut the locks and seals of a shipping container onboard a trailer in Dover, Kent, on 30 August to steal clothing and footwear products. The vehicle was parked in a layby on the A2 when the incident took place.

Most notable in August was the high number of tobacco thefts recorded in the UK, 28 in total with a combined loss value of €432,664. Whether these are the work of a single criminal group is not possible to confirm but the losses clearly demonstrate the challenges facing tobacco supply chains.

London, with six crimes, and Bristol, with four, reported the highest number of tobacco thefts. TAPA EMEA also recorded incidents in 13 other UK counties.   

This also resulted in Tobacco being the IIS product category with the highest number of losses in August – 30 overall or 16% of the monthly total – displacing Food & Drink, which has consistently ranked number one in every previous month of 2018. In August, there were 23 thefts involving Food & Drink, 12.2% of the overall total. Clothing & Footwear was the only other product category to record double-digit losses, 13 in total or 6.9%. In total, thefts were reported in 13 IIS product categories.

Data for the most recorded types of incident, location and M.O. showed a now familiar number one is each category:

·        Type of incident – Theft from Vehicle, 170 incidents or 90.5% of the August total

·        Type of location – Unsecured Parking, 146 or 77.7%

·        Type of M.O. – Intrusion, 161 or 85.7%

The higher that usual number of Theft from Moving Vehicle crimes – 16 in August – can be attributed to the rise in recorded tobacco thefts, which accounted for 12 of these cases of modus operandi. In most of these cases, thieves targeted delivery vehicles while they were moving in slow traffic or waiting at traffic lights in the UK. 

Analysis of all incidents reported to TAPA‘s IIS in August shows that of the seven countries suffering cargo losses, 175 of 93.1% of these crimes took place in the UK. The total loss for the 165 of these crimes stating a financial value was €6,898,855, resulting in an average loss in the UK in August of €41,811.

In the majority of UK incident last month, the products stolen were unspecified but significant losses were still recorded in a further 11 IIS product categories:

·        Computers/Laptops – 4 incidents with a total value of €2,429,301

·        Clothing & Footwear – 13 incidents, €689,297

·        Food & Drink - 21 incidents, €640,121

·        Tobacco – 28 incidents, €432,664

·        Furniture/Household Appliances – 5 incidents, €400,854

·        Cosmetics & Hygiene – 6 incidents, €264,470

·        Tools/Building Materials – 4 incidents, €198,393

·        Car Parts – 6 incidents, €175,261

·        Tyres – 2 incidents, €159,038

·        Toys/Games – 3 incidents, €132,573

·        Bicycles – 2 incidents, €101,198

UK motorway service areas remained a hotspot for cargo thefts in August.

Elsewhere in EMEA, three incidents were recorded in both France and Germany last month. Two cases of France are worth highlighting; the forced stop and hijacking of a truck carrying miscellaneous parcels on 14 August by offenders driving several cars. After threatening the driver and taking the load, they set fire to the vehicle. On 10 August, TAPA was also notified of a case in Paris in which the driver of a truck carrying electronics was reportedly overcome by a sleeping gas used by thieves. In Germany, two of the three incidents saw thieves targeting shipments of tyres.

Three thefts were also reported in South Africa:

·        On 21 August, a black car using a blue light and siren forced a truck carrying pharmaceutical products to stop on the N14 highway close to Lanseria International Airport to the north west of Johannesburg. The driver was threatened with a firearm, blindfolded and put into the car. After driving around for some time, the thieves left the driver with his vehicle after stealing capsules and syringes with a reported value of €12,000 

·        On 24 August, thieves brazenly stole cosmetics products from the back of a truck at a Destination Facility in Durban

·        In the same city on 27 August, three offenders travelling in a car forced a truck carrying frozen chips off the road in Sydenham, Durban, before threatening the driver with a gun. He was then forced to drive the vehicle to a storage facility where some of the cargo was offloaded. Police later traced the truck and found the driver tied up inside   

Other crimes in the region included:

·        Thieves using a hoist to steal copper from an Authorised 3rd Party Facility in Élouges in Belgium’s Hainaut province on 27 August

·        Another theft of tobacco, this time in Spain on 15 August at an unsecured parking location on the A5 highway to Madrid. The thieves cut a hole in the curtain side of the truck before forcing open the rear doors

If you have information concerning a cargo theft, please report it to iis@(*** please remove ***)