Cargo thefts reported to TAPA’s Incident Information Service (IIS) in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region in May continued to show the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on the activities of offenders, with only 83 new crimes reported to the IIS database in 17 countries.

The total loss for the 14 or 16.8% of these crimes reporting a value was €2,362,628 or an average of €168,759.

Despite the more challenging operating environment for offenders, TAPA still recorded eight major thefts during the month, although law enforcement agencies also enjoyed significant successes in arresting suspects believed to be involved in the thefts. The major losses with a value of €100,000 or more last month were:


In Midrand in South Africa’s Gauteng province on 26 May, thieves hijacked a truck carrying a shipment of soap and sanitizers. Police later recorded the vehicle and arrested eight individuals.


On 7 May, 500,000 face masks due to be distributed to the inhabitants of Seine-Saint-Denis in northern France were stolen from a vehicle in an unclassified parking location on the Spanish/French border by a group of offenders. 


In Auxerre in the French region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté on 9 May, thieves stole a vehicle and its load of cosmetics and hygiene products. Three days later, police located the vehicle and made two arrests in an operation which also led to the recovery of 2,700 packages.


40 tonnes of pork was stolen after offenders took two refrigerated trailers from a Services 3rd Party Facility in Boizenburg in the German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania on 10 May.


Tools and building materials – notably drills and grinders – were stolen from an Authorised 3rd Party Facility in Nairobi, Kenya, on 17 May after a gang forced their way into the warehouse. Police later arrested six suspects and are investigating their possible collusion with employees working in the facility. 


A forced stop and hijacking of a truck carrying various products in Kempton Park, Gauteng province, in South Africa on 16 May after armed offenders forced the vehicle off the road. The truck and two suspects were located two days later at a house in Ormonde and further investigation led police to a private storage facility in Pretoria North, where they also recovered food and drink as well as furniture/household appliance products.      


On 6 May, thieves broke into a van blocking a warehouse shutter door to release the handbrake and roll the vehicle forward. They then used machinery to cut a hole in the shutter before escaping with a large quantity of face masks from the Services 3rd Party Facility in Salford, Greater Manchester, in the United Kingdom.   


On 30 May, TAPA’s IIS recorded the theft of a trailer with no load from an unknown location in Templecombe in Somerset, UK. The trailer is used to transport train locomotives between railway tracks. No further details were recorded.   

Overall, during the month, goods were reported stolen in 12 TAPA IIS product categories, including:

·       Tobacco – 11 thefts (13.3% of the May total)

·       No Load (Theft of truck and/or trailer) – 6 (7.2%)

·       Cosmetics & Hygiene – 5 (6.0%)

·       Food & Drink – 5 (6.0%)

·       Tools/Building Materials – 4 (4.8%)

·       Pharmaceuticals – 4 (4.8%)

Of the 17 countries in EMEA recording thefts from supply chains in the IIS database, only the United Kingdom and Germany reported double-digit losses with 33 or 39.9% and 17 or 20.5% respectively.  

Of the known types of locations for these crimes, the top two – Destination Facility and Unclassified Parking Location- accounted for 36 or 43.4% of last month’s total, while Theft from Vehicle – 33 or 39.9% - and Theft from Facility – 13 or 15.6% - were the most recorded types on incidents. 16 or 19.3% of the cases reported to TAPA’s IIS in May involved the M.O. of Violent or Threat with Violence.

In the most disturbing crime recorded, offenders who broke into an Authorised 3rd Party Facility in Lusaka, Zambia, to steal clothing and footwear products, reportedly killed employees and set the building on fire to destroy evidence of the crime on 24 May.