TAPA’s Incident Information Service (IIS) has so far received reports of 290 cargo theft crimes in the Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) region in October with a total loss in excess of €10 million or more than €334,000 for every day of last month.

This figure is likely to continue to increase as TAPA collates more data.

Only 156 or 53.7% of these recorded crimes shared their financial losses but these incidents alone suffered a combined loss of €10,042,576 or an average of €64,375 for the month.

So far, TAPA’s IIS has been notified of 10 major thefts involving products with a value of €100,000 or more. These accounted for €6,863,005 of the October losses, averaging €686,300 per incident. The eight additional crimes reported in the €50K-€100K range contributed a further €600,444 of October’s total.  

Overall, TAPA EMEA collected intelligence on attacks on supply chains in 17 countries in the region during the month. Once again, positive collaboration with law enforcement agencies in the United Kingdom meant it was the country with the majority of incidents recorded in the month with 226 crimes or 78% of the October total. South Africa and Germany were the only other countries with crimes in double-figures with 11 and 10 respectively.   


October cargo crimes included two seven-figure losses in Africa and Europe:



On 25 October, a gang of offenders entered a pharmaceutical warehouse in Lokoja, Nigeria, and stole medical equipment including x-ray machines. Police arrested suspects the following day but no information is available on the recovery of the cargo.



In Birchwood in the North West of the UK, thieves accessed an HGV and trailer in a transport yard on 21 October and stole a tractor unit and trailer loaded with unspecified products worth €2,499,457. 


The six other major cargo crimes in October which Vigilant is able to report involved:

  • €500,000 – Thieves hijacked and robbed a truck carrying a shipment of cigarettes in Senlis in Northern France on 6 October. The driver was released after the attack and alerted the police.
  • €276,000 - Two offenders were arrested on 17 October in Tangier, Morocco, while attempting to steal car parts from the factory they worked in. This followed arrests of another 26 suspects for thefts of spare parts on 6 October, including both employees and resellers.
  • €186,626 - On 6 October, offenders approached a parked and attended HGV in Tilbrook, Cambridgeshire, in the UK and threatened the driver with a weapon before stealing the vehicle and its cargo of electronics products.
  • €163,297 – A shipment of clothing and footwear was stolen on 2 October in Woodkirk, West Yorkshire, in the UK after thieves gained entry to a secured yard containing 12 HGV and trailers, cutting their tarpaulin curtains to access the cargoes onboard.
  • €150,586 – This violent truck hijacking in Milton Keynes, UK, on 6 October resulted in the theft of 200 televisions. The driver was en route when he was approached by a group of offenders who pulled him from his cab and punched him in the face. They then forced him back into the cab at knifepoint before one of the offenders drove the truck to another location in Cambridgeshire.
  • €100,000 - In Montesarchio, southern Italy, two offenders using firearms ambushed cash-in-transit guards after they exited the vehicle to make a delivery on 26 October. 


The eight losses in the €50,000-€100,000 category were:


•        €94,847 - in Keighley, West Yorkshire, in the UK on 7 October, offenders stole miscellaneous goods from a truck and trailer 

•        €94,423 - cosmetic goods were stolen from an unattended trailer parked in a warehouse yard in Knowsley, Merseyside, UK, on 17 October

•        €88,869 – thieves cut the rear door locks of an attended HGV parked at a motorway service area in Horwich in Greater Manchester, UK, on 28 October and stole a load of alcohol products 

•        €80,871 - in Doncaster, UK, on 7 October, offenders stole a shipment of IT products  from a LGV parked at a petrol station

•        €66,136 – also in Doncaster, on the following day, 8 October, a truck driver was threatened and robbed of his vehicle’s cargo of machinery and parts.

•        €62,285 - in Reedville, South Africa, the driver of a truck with no load was forced to stop his vehicle by two armed offenders on 1 October. The stolen vehicle was recovered later that day in Tsakani, Gauteng province

•        €61,158 – on 1 October at a motorway service area in Dunstable, UK, offenders gained entry to a HGV trailer and stole electrical goods

•        €51,855 - offenders used a firearm to threaten an employee at a clothing warehouse in Randjespark, South Africa, on 13 October before instructing the other staff in the facility  to assemble and lay down on the floor of the dispatch area. Seven more offenders then entered the premises in four trucks and proceeded to load boxes of clothing before fleeing the scene. Following a tip-off, a police tracking team located the suspects later the same day and recovered the stolen cargo.



Five of TAPA’s IIS product categories recorded 10 or more losses in October:

  • Tobacco – 48 (16.6%)
  • No Load (Theft of truck and/or trailer) – 43 (14.8%)
  • Food & Drink – 34 (11.7%)
  • Cosmetics & Hygiene – 12 (4.1%)
  • Clothing & Footwear – 11 (3.8%)


Theft from Vehicle remains by far the most recorded type of incident with 217 crimes in October, 74.8% of the monthly total. Four other incidents suffered double-digit crimes:

·       Theft from Trailer – 15 (5.1%)

·       Hijacking – 14 (4.8%)

·       Theft of Vehicle – 12 (4.1%)

·       Theft from Facility – 10 (3.5%)


Unclassified parking locations accounted for 138 or 47.5% of October crime reports.

Other IIS intelligence reports of note in October also included:

·       33 pallets of fresh beef stolen in a theft of vehicle crime in Vojens, Denmark, on 17 October

·       144 cleaning robots taken in another vehicle theft from a service area on the A2 in Sidamon, Spain, on 16 October

·       168 PC monitors stolen from a truck in an unclassified parking location in Trezzano sul Naviglio, Italy, on 6 October

·       35 tonnes of carob stolen from a warehouse in Limassol, Cyprus, on 23 October

·       The theft of a shipment of cigarettes from a truck en route on the A59 in Krefeld, Germany, on 15 October – the third attack of this type in the area in 2020

·       Multiple crimes involving ‘curtain-cutting’ of truck tarpaulins at motorway service stations across the UK

·       A gang used four cars to ram a security escort vehicle and force a truck carrying a shipment of cigarettes to stop on the SP-141 in Ippocampo, Italy, on 12 October. However, they fled after smashing the window of the truck cab, which caused an alarm to sound

·       Three lorries loaded with whisky were stolen from a Services 3rd Party Facility in Birchwood, UK. The trucks were later recovered in Rochdale

·       3 occupants of a car in Brakpan, South Africa, signalled a truck driver to indicate some of his cargo of metal had fallen from the vehicle. Once he stopped to investigate, one of the offenders fired a gunshot and the driver ran off, enabling the thieves to steal the vehicle and cargo


·       Migrants travelling in a truck in Heiligenroth, Germany, made an emergency call for help, saying they were laying on top of cargo with only a 30cm gap to the roof. By the time police traced the vehicle, some of the occupants had escaped but eight people, including a minor, were still onboard  


TAPA was also notified of more incidents using the ‘blue light’ modus operandi, including:

·       On 21 October on the N2 in Welgedacht,  South Africa, a white vehicle using a blue light and an offender wearing a blue police jacket stopped a truck carrying a cargo of sweets, nappies, energy drinks and coffee. After carrying out documentation checks, the ‘officer’ asked the driver to exit the truck, after which he was threatened at gunpoint and bundled into the boot of a car.

·       On 28 October, a truck travelling on the M40, near Ashorne in the UK, was approached by another vehicle using a blue light, purporting to be an unmarked police car. One of the offenders was also wearing what looked like a police uniform.


TAPA members can see all of the latest IIS incident data by logging onto the Association’s website.