The fact that TAPA EMEA’s Incident Information Service (IIS) has just confirmed that the number of recorded cargo crimes in the Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) region in 2018 was the highest in the Association’s 21-year history only makes the IIS statistics for January 2019 even more ominous for supply chain security executives.

This year began with 302 newly-reported cargo thefts to TAPA’s IIS in the 31 days of January – a 68.7% growth over the same month a year ago.

The 214 or 70.8% of these crimes stating a value produced a total loss of €10,797,475, averaging a cost per crime of €50,455.

14 of the 302 incidents were recorded as major cargo thefts with losses of €100,000 or more. Overall, these accounted for €5,436,176 of the January loss total – resulting in an average per crime of €388,298. In the €50,000-€100,000 loss range, TAPA EMEA received incident intelligence on a further 27 thefts from supply chains in the region with a combined loss of €1,782,379 or an average of €66,014.

As if the numbers were not a big enough cause for alarm, the highest loss last month was also a reminder of the length criminals are prepared to go to when they have a target in sight.

On 2 January, four offenders armed with an automatic weapon used a truck to close a section of highway in Melito di Porto Salvo in Italy’s Calabria region. As the cash-in-transit vehicle they were targeting approached the location, the occupants were threatened at gunpoint and forced to leave the vehicle. The criminals then used two bulldozers to smash open the armoured vehicle’s strongbox before making their escape with €2,300,000 in cash.

The other major losses in the month were:


The theft of a shipment of shoes from a vehicle in Batley, West Yorkshire, UK, on 4 January after thieves cut the locks and seals on a truck parked on an industrial estate.


Possibly a separate report of the incident mention previously, this crime on 4 January involved the loss of thousands of pairs of cricket shoes from the back of a lorry in Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK. The goods, newly-arrived from China, were stolen in the early hours of the morning.


In Skelmersdale, Lancashire in the UK, on 7 January, offenders stole a trailer loaded with confectionary after entering a secured haulage yard in a tractor unit.


This Theft from Vehicle crime resulted in the loss of fashion clothing from an HGV and semi-trailer left in an unsecured parking location on an industrial estate in Leicester in the UK. The thieves cut the tarpaulin curtain of the trailer to reach the goods inside on 7 January.  


Miscellaneous goods – including furniture and craft materials – were loaded onboard a trailer stolen from a secured compound in Birmingham, West Midlands, UK, on 5 January. The thieves entered the site in a tractor unit and proceeded to steal another tractor as well as three shipping containers on trailers.


Three parked and unattended HGVs and semi-trailers with no loads onboard were taken on 27 January from a secured parking place in Skelmersdale, West Yorkshire, the second major incident in this vicinity during the month.   


Unspecified goods were also recorded stolen from a secured parking location in Skelmersdale on 27 January, possibly another report linked to the incident previously listed.


38 pallets of wine stolen after thieves took a loaded HGV from a secured haulage yard in Dudley, West Midlands, UK, on 27 January.


Footwear taken from a vehicle parked at Chieveley Motorway Service Area in Berkshire, UK, on 16 January, after offenders cut open the tarpaulin side of the vehicle.


IT goods stolen in a Theft from Vehicle incident at Newport Pagnell MSA in Milton Keynes, UK, on 17 January after the locks and seals of a container were cut.


Car parts were lost in another curtain cutting incident at the same UK motorway services on 3 January.


A shipment of children’s pushchairs disappeared on 10 January after offenders cut the locks and seals on a vehicle parked in an unknown location on the A14 in Kelmarsh, Northamptonshire, UK. 


Toys/Games stolen in yet another tarpaulin cutting crime at Newport Pagnell MSA in the UK. This incident was recorded by TAPA’s IIS on 13 January.

In the €50,000-€100,000 loss range, the 27 losses included:

·       €91,085 – theft of car parts from a truck parked in a layby on the A404 in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, UK, on 15 January

·       €87,661 – Household goods stolen from a truck on 13 January after the curtain side of the vehicle was sliced open in Churwell, West Yorkshire, UK

·       €84,465 – A shipment of phones taken from a vehicle left on a business park in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, UK, on 16 January 

·       €82,016 – A violent robbery of miscellaneous products which took in Hvidovre, in southern Copenhagen, Denmark, on 10 January.

·       A violent robbery in Hvidovre in southern Copenhagen, Denmark, on 10 January involving a vehicle en route in the area

·       €79,447 - Another violent crime which saw a driver delivering tobacco products assaulted by three offenders. After emptying his vehicle within 10 minutes, the three assailants took the driver’s keys and mobile phone, before locking him in the back of the vehicle in Coventry, West Midlands, UK  

·       €76,475 - A shipment of shoes stolen in another curtain cutting crime. On 10 January, thieves targeted a vehicle parked in an unsecured location in Bardon, Leicestershire, in the UK

·       €75,084 – Security guards were tied up by thieves who escaped with coffee products from an Origin Facility in Kerugoya in Kenya on 31 January

·       €74,192 – Beauty products were stolen from a parked an attended truck at Toddington MSA in Bedfordshire, UK, on 11 January

·       €73,334 – Another loss of car parts, this time from a motorway service area in Northampton, UK, on 3 January after a truck’s security locks and seals were removed

·        €70,882 – On 16 January, kitchen appliances were stolen from a vehicle parked at Beaconsfield MSA in Buckinghamshire, UK, in another curtain cutting incident           

The United Kingdom and the Netherlands recorded 90% of all cargo thefts in January

Recorded incident rates in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands accounted for 90% of the monthly total; the 230 crimes reported in the UK represented 76.1% of the January figures, while a further 13.9% or 42 took place in the Netherlands. Germany was the only one of the remaining 9 countries to record a double-digit loss rate in January, with 12 incidents or 4%.

Losses were seen in 15 TAPA IIS product categories, although in 124 or 41.1% of crimes, the goods stolen were unspecified. 35 thefts of Tobacco were notified to TAPA during the month, and the other product categories with 10 losses or more were:   

·        Food & Drink – 23 (7.6%)

·        Cosmetics & Hygiene – 21 (7.0%)

·        Miscellaneous – 20 (6.6%)

·        Clothing & Footwear – 18 (6.0%)

·        Furniture/Household Appliances – 17 (5.6%)

·        No Load (Theft of truck and/or trailer) – 12 (4.0%)

The three most recorded types of incidents last month all involved trucks; Theft from Vehicle – 249 incidents or 82.5% of the total, Theft of Vehicle – 15 or 4.9% and Theft from Trailer – 7 or 2.3%. The majority of these crimes saw offenders targeting trucks in unsecured parking locations, 220 incidents overall or 72.9% of all crimes recorded during the month. Intrusion was the most stated modus operandi used by cargo thieves, while 25 crimes involved the M.O. of Violent & Threat with Violence.