The number of cargo theft incidents reported to TAPA’s Incident Information Service (IIS) in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region in September rose 33.9% year-on-year to 221.

The 172 or 77.8% of these crimes recording a value produced a total loss of €5,900,218, with an average per incident of €34,303.

Nine of these thefts were recorded as major incidents with individual loss values of €100,000 or more, totalling €1,255,551 or an average of €139,505. During the 30 days of September, a further 21 reported crimes stated a loss value of between €50,000 and €100,000 and accounted for €1,359,135 of the monthly total, an average of €64,720.

The biggest recorded loss in EMEA last month was a Theft of Trailer incident from an Authorised 3rd Party Facility in West Bromwich in the West Midlands region of the United Kingdom. According to IIS intelligence, the offenders broke into a secured yard on 20 September and forcibly removed the trailer from a tractor unit, damaging the truck in the process. They escaped with Clothing & Footwear worth €281,233.

This was one of seven major cargo crimes recorded in the UK during the month. The other thefts included:


On 1 September, another load of Clothing & Footwear was stolen from a truck parked in a layby on the A2 in Canterbury, Kent, after thieves sliced open the tarpaulin side of the vehicle.


A shipment of cornflakes and kitchen towels disappeared after thieves using two tractor units with cloned licence plates took trailers from an unsecured parking location in Lockerbie, Scotland on 15 September.


Barton Park motorway services in North Yorkshire was the scene of this cargo theft on 3 September. Offenders targeted a parked and attended truck, cutting open the curtain side of the vehicle to steal its load of televisions. The location is close to junction 56 of the A1(M). 


Computers/Laptops were stolen from another vehicle stopped in an unsecured parking location on 20 September. The curtain side of the truck was cut open to reach the cargo after the driver had parked in a layby on the A14 in Kelmarsh, Northamptonshire.


The same M.O. resulted in the loss of a shipment of gin and tequila on 3 September from a truck in an unsecured parking location in Derby, East Midlands.


The second major cargo crime at a UK motorway service area during the month was recorded on 18 September and resulted in the loss of Tyres from a vehicle parked at Leicester Forest East MSA on the M1 motorway in the East Midlands.  

The two other major losses in September were recorded in Sweden and Germany. TAPA has been asked not to publish information on the first of these crimes. The other incident – another ‘curtain-cutting’ crime – saw thieves escape with televisions valued at €100,000 from a truck in an unsecured parking location in Duisburg in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.   

Losses of between €50,000 and €100,000 during the month also included these Theft from Vehicle crimes, which were all recorded in the UK and mostly involved ‘curtain cutting’:

·         €98,053 – Shoes and trainers stolen in Maidstone, Kent, on 10 September  

·         €92,348 – Unspecified cargo in Castleford, West Yorkshire on 26 September

·         €73,426 – Fitness equipment stolen in Normanton, West Yorkshire, on 26 September

·         €73,125 – Clothing & Footwear from a Destination Facility in Pontefract, West Yorkshire, on 13 September

·         €72,296 – A shipment of gin stolen from a truck at Woolley Edge motorway services in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, on 25 September 

·         €66,162 – Tyres stolen from a truck at Leicester Forest East MSA on 22 September

·         €65,824 – Batteries taken from a vehicle at Cambridge MSA on 7 September 

·         €63,406 – Wine stolen from a truck parked in a layby on the A50 in Ashton-on-Trent, Derby, on 7 September

·         €63,259 – Another shipment of wine stolen from a vehicle in Northampton, East Midlands, on 29 September

·         €63,218 – Another theft of Tyres from a truck in a layby in Whitwell, Derbyshire, on 5 September

Overall, losses were reported in 14 TAPA IIS product categories, including four with double-digit crime rates:

·         Food & Drink – 35 incidents, 15.9% of the September total

·         Tobacco – 20 incidents, 9.1%

·         Clothing & Footwear – 16 incidents, 7.3%

·         Furniture/Household Appliances – 10 incidents, 4.5%

The overwhelming majority of cargo crimes in EMEA continue to involve Theft from Vehicle incidents. These accounted for 196 or 88.6% of thefts reported to the IIS database last month. Most of these losses – 163 or 73.7% - occurred when trucks stopped in unsecured parking locations. Intrusion, in the form of tarpaulin cutting or thieves forcing open the rear doors of vehicles, was the most recorded M.O. Eight other crimes gave an M.O. of Theft from Moving Vehicle, which all involved thieves targeting shipments of cigarettes while they were en route in the UK. 

In total, freight losses were reported to TAPA’s IIS in nine countries in EMEA. Of the overall total, 206 or 93.1% of these incidents occurred in just two countries, the UK (178) and the Netherlands (28).       

In the UK, 60 of the 178 freight thefts took place at motorway service areas. Overall, the value of cargo losses across the country - €5,634,718 - accounted for almost the entire EMEA loss value in September. The most stolen products in the UK included Food & Drink (34 incidents), Tobacco (18) and Clothing & Footwear (15).

Whilst the East Midlands region was the location with the most recorded cargo crimes in the UK last month - 87 or 48.8% of the total – there was a significant rise in the number of incidents reported in Yorkshire & The Humber. Most notably, the TAPA IIS database was notified of 14 incidents at Woolley Edge motorway services in Wakefield over a 10-day period with a combined loss of €392,726 as thieves stole shipments of soft drinks, clothing, gin, tyres, towels and brandy. Pontefract was another crime ‘hotspot’ in Yorkshire, recording 11 incidents in two weeks involving vehicles parked at truck stops, in laybys and on industrial estates. These crimes – which involved losses of pharmaceuticals, boiler parts, vegetables, cosmetics, training shoes and soft drinks – produced a total loss of €185,207.

Limburg was the province of the Netherlands to record the highest number of incidents, 10 in total. There were also multiple cargo crimes reported in South Holland, eight in total, and North Brabant, the scene of a further six thefts. Products targeted in the Netherlands included metal, televisions, jeans, cigarettes, glasses, tyres, batteries, computers, sports equipment, dishwashers, beer, toothbrushes and Christmas decorations. Most where stolen in Theft from Vehicle crimes.

Crime hotspots in the Netherlands in September included the following highways:

·         A2 – Maarheeze in North Brabant as well as Echt and Eijsden in Limburg

·         A16 – Zevenbergen in North Brabant

·         A67 – Bladel in North Brabant and Venlo in Limburg

·         A73 – Roermond in Limburg

Other crimes in the EMEA region included:

·         All seven freight thefts in Germany saw thieves targeting vehicles, mostly cutting the tarpaulin curtains of trucks to steal products including copper, household appliances and DVDs. Losses were recorded in North Rhine-Westphalia, Thuringia, Bavaria, Brandenburg and Lower Saxony

·         Three Theft from Trailer crimes in Belgium targeting cigarettes and car parts. Two of these incidents were recorded in Hainaut province and the other in Namur

·         In France, offenders broke into a compound and threatened warehouse staff with iron bars before escaping with unspecified cargo from an Authorised 3rd Party Facility in Jonage, Lyon

·         The only recorded incident in Italy saw thieves take a vehicle loaded with steel on 3 September from a Services 3rd Party Facility in Terni, Umbria

·         El Molar, Madrid, was the location of the single cargo crime reported in Spain, involving the theft of electrical tools from a vehicle in a truck park on 11 September  

·         Another ‘curtain-cutting’ incident in the Czech Republic enabled thieves to steal a shipment of DVDs from a truck in PoděBrady.