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Soon Available the IIS Cargo Incident Annual Report 2021. Send in your incident data till 20 January 2022

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Police Disrupt Cargo Thefts

Positive police action disrupts major cargo thefts, but supply chains in 21 countries still suffer losses

The initial cargo loss data reported to TAPA EMEA’s Incident Information Service (IIS) for November 2021 so far includes some encouraging successes for law enforcement agencies operating in Europe.

To date, TAPA EMEA’s IIS database has recorded 175 incidents in the 30 days of last month, with further crime reports still anticipated. Only 8% of this total provided any financial loss data, producing an overall loss total for the month of €1,251,906 or an average of €96,300.

In all three of the major incidents recorded so far for November 2021 - those reporting a financial loss of €100,000 or more – intelligence shared with TAPA EMEA highlighted highly effective police responses:


On 11 November, Spanish police arrested seven members of a suspected cargo theft gang believed to have been operating around Madrid earlier in the month. The group were finally apprehended as they attempted to steal a shipment of car engines valued at €550,000 while it was being transported in the Basque Country. Officers set up surveillance and were monitoring members of the gang as they were negotiating with their contacts to sell the goods.


In a separate incident in Spain on 24 November, police arrested 18 people suspected of being members of an organised cargo crime gang following the theft of tools, TVs and bicycles from an industrial estate in Mercia.


Police officers in the United Kingdom recovered a stolen truck and its cargo of metal in Osmotherley, North Yorkshire, following a tip-off during the early hours of 15 November. A member of the public called the police after spotting a truck in the area with its trailer number plates removed and its lights tampered with. Arriving at the scene, officers arrested the truck driver and passenger. The cargo is believed to have been stolen in a previous incident in nearby Cleveland.

As in September and October, TAPA EMEA recorded cargo crimes in a high number of countries across the EMEA region; 21 in total. Five countries accounted for 83.4% of freight theft incidents last month:

• United Kingdom – 60 (34.3%)

• France – 28 (16%)

• Spain – 27 (15.4%)

• Germany – 18 (10.3%)

• Italy – 13 (7.4%)

In nearly 80% of crime reports, the specific types of goods targeted were not reported. Of the 11 IIS product categories with known losses, Furniture/Household Appliances saw the highest number of cargo thefts with 7 or 4% of the monthly total, followed by Food and Drink (6), Cash (5), Clothing & Footwear (4), No Load (Theft of truck and/or trailer) (4), and Tobacco (4).

Theft of Trailer (75 incidents), Theft from Vehicle (31) and Theft of Vehicle (22) accounted for 128 or 73% of the types of incidents notified to TAPA EMEA in November. For the 65% of crime reports with a known type of location, double-digit figures were recorded for:

• Destination Facility – 51 (29.1%)

• Unclassified Parking Location – 24 (13.6%)

• En Route – 22 (12.6%)

• Origin Facility – 13 (7.4%)

Of the 175 incidents recorded to date for last month, 9.1% reported an M.O. of Violent or Threat with Violence and, sadly, two separate crimes stated police fatalities, including four officers who tragically died as they tried to stop the robbery of a cash-in-transit vehicle in Mecula, Mozambique, on 25 November.

Intelligence shared with TAPA EMEA’s IIS in the past month also included:

• Thieves stole 68 televisions valued at €40,000 from a truck parked at a motorway rest area in Lichtenau, Germany, on 10 November.

• On 12 November, armed offenders attempted to steal luxury goods from a facility in Ghemme, Italy, after using two vehicles to block access to the town. They smashed a hole in the facility wall to gain entry. Local police were alerted to the incident when the facility alarm activated and began a pursuit of one of the suspects’ vans, forcing it to crash off the road. One of the criminals’ vehicles was also identified as having been stolen earlier in Lombardy.

• A cash-in-transit (CIT) guard was shot and wounded during a robbery in Salerno, Italy, on the morning of 12 November. The armoured vehicle was forced to stop by two armed and masked men, who disarmed the guard manning the van and struck him on the head. The unknown perpetrators then escaped in a van with an unknown quantity of cash.

• On 15 November, police officers in Elk, Poland, arrested a truck driver for stealing 130kg of bacon from his load. The truck operators noticed that the load was missing and informed the police, who arrested the driver. Officers found the bacon, valued at €430, in the boot of the driver’s car. The driver had broken the seal to the trailer whilst en route and stolen the bacon.

• A warehouse employee searched by security staff at the end of his shift in Coventry in the UK was found to have stolen some €20,000 of phones and computer memory boards.

• On 16 November, 14 pallets of coffee machines worth €20,000 were taken from a truck at a rest area in Hungary. The truck driver noticed that the trailer’s security seals had been tampered with.

• A suspect was arrested on 16 November whilst attempting to steal from parked trucks at a motorway service area in Bussy-Saint-Georges, France. The incidents took place at a service area on the A4 motorway. The offender had been seen earlier trying to steal goods from a truck park on an industrial estate in Croissy-Beaubourg. A passing truck driver managed to record the suspect’s vehicle details and pass them on to the police, who began searching for the vehicle. Shortly afterwards, a police patrol spotted the offender 6km away at the A4 rest area, where he had slashed the trailer curtains of five parked trucks in an attempt to steal cargo.

• Thieves stole 270 televisions valued at €80,000 from a motorway service area on the A1/E57 in Fram, Slovenia, on the evening of 17 November. The offenders broke into five trailers parked at the site.

• On 18 November, a truck carrying a cargo of luxury clothing in Milan had its route blocked by an armed gang. After forcing the truck to stop, the attackers tied up the driver before loading the shipment into their own vehicles.

• A truck driver was assaulted at a service area in Berg, Germany, after challenging two men acting suspiciously at the back of his truck. In another incident, a driver who intercepted offenders slashing the curtain side of his truck was assaulted with an iron bar in an unclassified parking location in Euskirchen, Germany, on 20 November

• Two suspects were arrested for stealing batteries from parked trucks in Perpignan, France, on the night of 20-21 November. This incident took place at the premises of a local transport company. The day before, the manager of another company in the area reported the theft of 200 litres of truck fuel and 12 truck batteries. After checking security cameras, police were able to link the same suspects to both crimes.

• Five offenders broke into a warehouse in Beylikduzu, Turkey, during the early hours of 23 November, and stole a consignment of alcoholic beverages. CCTV footage showed the thieves forcing open one of the facility’s shutter doors.

• A man was arrested after stealing a postal van while it was making a last mile delivery. The perpetrator seized the opportunity to jump in the van whilst the driver was out making a doorstep delivery. He drove the vehicle to his father-in-law’s house, planning to hide the stolen parcels there, but his relative refused to help and called the police.

• On 25 November, three truck drivers were caught in Bizerte, Tunisia, using an electronic saw to steal from cargo containers.

• Two security guards and two police officers were shot during an armed robbery of a cash-in-transit (CIT) van in Witbank, South Africa, on 27 November. The incident took place at the junction of the N4 and N12 motorways after suspects in two cars rammed into the armoured vehicle. Whilst a firefight was going on between the criminal gang and the security guards, other offenders used explosives to gain entry to the CIT van and stole an unknown quantity of cash.

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