In recent months, it has been the growing value of losses from supply chains that has dominated Vigilant’s incident reports but cargo crimes recorded by TAPA’s Incident Information Service (IIS) in November also produced a 49.2% year-0n-year rise in the actual number of thefts or attempted thefts – reaching a 5-year high of 303 losses in the 30 days of the month.

The total loss value for the 232 or 76.6% of incidents reporting financial data of €6,893,252 meant the average loss for the month stood at €29,712.

This included 11 major incidents with individual loss values in excess of €100,000, which represented €1,555,747 on the November total, averaging €141,432 per crime:


Thieves cut the locks and seals of a shipping container on a parked and attended HGV at a service station in Dordon, Warwickshire, in the UK on 13 November and stole a shipment of bicycles.


On 9 November, clothing and footwear were taken from another truck in an unsecured parking location, this time on the A2 in Leudal in the Netherlands’ Limburg province.


An Authorised 3rd Party Facility in Zonhoven, Belgium, was targeted by offenders on 9 November. They cut holes in the perimeter fence as well as the warehouse wall before escaping with electronic sewing machines, some valued at €12,000. 


TAPA’s IIS received several reports in November involving thefts of televisions. In this case of 22 November, 55-inch TVs were stolen from Bicester Motorway Service Area (MSA) on the M40 in Oxfordshire, UK, after the locks and seals were cut on the doors of a semi-trailer vehicle. 


Similarly, TAPA EMEA was notified of multiple losses of cigarettes during last month. Most occurred in the UK although this incident on 21 November saw thieves take 200 cases of cigarettes from a facility in Kurilovo near Moscow, Russia. According to the intelligence report, two men entered the premises posing as police officers and said they were there to validate the operation. However, they quickly tied up one of the employees and stole the cigarettes. After being arrested soon after the crime, one of the suspects said the cigarettes had been sold on to unknown merchants immediately after they were stolen.         


Thieves entered a secured logistics yard on 21 November in Wellesbourne, Warwickshire, UK, and stole an unattended tractor unit and a trailer loaded with children’s toys. 


Computers/laptops were the target in another Theft from Vehicle crime in the UK on 14 November. The offenders cut the curtain side of a semi-trailer parked at Newport Pagnell MSA in Buckinghamshire to steal the goods. 


The first of two major losses at Chieveley MSA on the M4 in Berkshire, UK, saw thieves escape with a cargo of shoes after cutting the tarpaulin curtain of a truck on 16 November.


Home audio equipment was stolen from a parked and attended truck on an industrial estate in the Beeston area of Leeds, West Yorkshire, on 12 November in another curtain-cutting incident in the UK. 


The second high value loss at Chieveley MSA was recorded on 21 November, another Theft from Vehicle incident, which resulted in the loss of motorcycles.


Only limited information was reported to TAPA’s IIS about this case of fraud, which involved the theft of a shipment of aluminium from a truck in an unsecured parking location in Rotterdam on 7 November. 

Regular and proactive reporting by UK law enforcement agencies meant it was the country in EMEA with the highest number of cargo crime incidents in November, 225 or 74.3% of the monthly total. Of the 13 countries which recorded thefts or attempted thefts from supply chains last month, the Netherlands was the only other one with a double-digit rate of incidents. Its 46 reported thefts accounted for 15.1% of the overall crimes in the month, well ahead of Germany, which saw eight thefts, and Belgium and South Africa, which both added five more losses to the IIS database.

The UK, therefore, accounted for most of the total loss value for the month - €5,799,869 or an average for UK cargo crimes with a value of €26,483. The majority of these incidents occurred in London, the West Midlands, East Midlands and Yorkshire and The Humber regions, including nearly 80 freight thefts at motorway service stations on the M1, M4, M6, M40, M42 and M62 motorways and the A1, A14 and A50 main roads.

All but one of the 37 cases of Theft from Moving Vehicle was recorded in the UK. Only 21 of these stated the product targeted and, in each case, this was cigarettes. As in previous months, this included a high number of incidents in Greater London as thieves continued to target vehicles stuck in slow moving traffic.  



Most of the 31 recorded crimes involving losses with a value of between €50,000 and €100,000 also took place in the UK. In total, the 31 incidents produced a loss of €2,111,682 or an average of €68,118.

Freight losses in this value category included:

·         €94,292 – A mixed load stolen in a violent truck hijacking in Coslada, Madrid, in Spain on 17 November, as it travelled along the M50 highway. According to IIS intelligence, a car pulled in front of the truck, forcing the vehicle to the side of the road, and two offenders approached the driver brandishing a shotgun. The driver’s head was covered with a jacket as the thieves drove the truck to a location 20 minutes away and then, after unloading its cargo, carried on for another 15 minutes before abandoning the truck and driver, who was told not to move for 30 minutes. The attackers warned the driver that they had his ID and personal details would find him if he disobeyed their instructions. The two offenders reportedly spoke Spanish to the driver but a different language when speaking to each other, although the driver did not recognise the language.  

·         €92,874 – A Theft from Trailer with an Internal M.O. recorded on 8 November. An agency driver delivering a trailer load of tobacco products to Birkenhead Docks in the North West of the UK reported stopped his vehicle nearby for 20 minutes, during which time he is suspected of stealing two pallets of cargo.

·         €90,953 – On 13 November, a shipment of photocopiers was stolen after thieves cut the tarpauling curtain on a parked and attended truck, which was in an unsecured parking place on an industrial estate in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire. 

·         €89,875 – Another shipment of toys was reported stolen on 8 November. Offenders cut the curtain side of a vehicle parked in a layby on the A43 in Kettering, Northamptonshire, UK.

·         €88,799 – In another incident recorded in a layby in Northamptonshire – on the A5 in Crick – on 1 November, thieves broke open the locks and seals of a truck to take its cargo of televisions.

·         €88,200 – Few details were recorded for this crime, other than it involved the theft of cosmetics in a robbery in Lucerne, Switzerland, on 25 November.

·         €87,584 – Another theft of televisions was reported to TAPA’s IIS on 9 November as thieves cut open the curtain side of a truck parked in a layby on the A17 in Coddington, Northampton.

·         €85,486 – A further curtain-cutting crime saw offenders in Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK, escape with a shipment of audio visual equipment on 18 November.

·         €82,000 – Thieves also took a cargo of motorised toys from a truck parked in an unsecured parking location on the A67 in Venlo, the Netherlands, on 28 November. 

·         €76,355 – A motorway services on the M1 in Leicester, UK, was the location of this theft of car parts on 13 November. The curtain side of the truck was cut open to access the goods.   

In the Netherlands, locations of cargo crimes included unsecured parking locations along several main highways:

·         A2 – in Leudal, Maarheeze, Echt and Beek

·         A16 – in Moerdijk

·         A37 – in Coevorden

·         A50 – in Klarenbeek

·         A67 – in Bladel, Hapert and Venlo

·         A73 – in Haps

Goods stolen in the Netherlands during the 30 days on November included gin, clothing, toys, vacuum cleaners, DVD machines, hand soap, kitchen pans, cleaning products, razor blades, televisions, bedding, coffee machines, computers/laptops, tools, paint, toilet rolls, and metal.

Overall, goods were stolen in 14 different TAPA IIS product categories in November. Tobacco was the product with the highest number of reported thefts, 39 in total or 12.9% of all November crimes. Four other categories recorded double-digit incident rates:

·         Food & Drink – 27 incidents or 8.9% of the monthly total

·         Furniture/Household Appliances – 20 or 6.6%

·         Cosmetics & Hygiene – 13 or 4.3%

·         Clothing & Footwear – 11 or 3.6%

Theft from Vehicle continued to dominate the most recorded types of incident in November, accounting for 256 or 84.6% of all reported cargo crimes, followed by 13 or 4.3% of cases involving Theft from Trailer and a further 10 or 3.3% of incidents of Theft of Vehicle. Unsecured Parking was the most reported location and was stated in 224 or 73.9% of last month’s crime reports to the IIS database.

Six cases of fraud were added to the IIS listings in November. Two, in particular, are worthy of note:

·         On 21 November, a fake carrier within a subcontractor’s pool of suppliers was responsible for the theft of miscellaneous goods. According to the incident report, the carrier had worked normally for two weeks before being assigned to collect this particular load. The driver used documentation, licence plates and insurance details cloned from a legitimate UK company, to assist in the theft of the cargo from an unknown location in the UK

·         On 15 November, police in the south of Moscow prevented the theft of hygiene products and arrested two suspects also planning to use a fake carrier M.O. to steal the cargo from an Origin Facility. The arrests were facilitated by the legitimate freight forwarder and its subcontractors, which jointly verified the fake carrier’s intentions. Police are in the process of trying to identify other victims of the offenders.

Of the four cases of Fraud recorded in the Netherlands, three occurred in the Netherlands and the other in Hoek van Holland. Losses includes two shipments of metal valued at €64,000 and €50,000 respectively.

Cargo crimes in Germany last month included:

·         €45,000 – Theft of Toys/Games from a vehicle on the A2 in Magdeburg, Saxony-Anhalt on 29 November

·         €21,000 – A shipment of coffee stolen from a truck parked in an unsecured location in Gelenskirchen, North Rhine-Westphalia 

·         €20,000 – 24 televisions stolen from a vehicle in Uhrsleben, Saxony-Anhalt, on 29 November

On 23 November, TAPA’s IIS was alerted to offenders cutting the tarpaulins of 100 trucks at a rest area on the A6 in Sinsheim, Baden-Württemberg, stealing goods including high quality chain saws.

One other crime worth highlighting in November was the theft of bicycles from an Origin Facility in Lombardy, Italy, on 26 November, after thieves cut holes in the perimeter fence and through the one-metre thick warehouse wall to reach the goods, which included a custom-painted bicycle by an Italian frame maker.

TAPA EMEA members can search for further intelligence on these crimes in the Incident Information Service (IIS) database.



Year-to-date as reported in Vigilant 

Month                      No. of incidents

November                      303

October                          229

September                     221

August                            188

July                                  223

June                                206

May                                128

April                               142

March                            141

February                       161

January                          179    



5-year analysis of data published in Vigilant

Year                       No. of incidents

2018                             303

2017                             203

2016                             231

2015                             148

2014                             101