After 12 consecutive months of year-on-year growth in cargo crimes reported to TAPA’s Incident Information Service (IIS) in EMEA, 2017 got off to an ominous start with a 64.1% rise in cargo thefts over the same month a year ago – and this is without the usual monthly data provided by Dutch law enforcement, which was not available before the January data was collated.



The 151 incidents recorded in January 2017 compares to 92 in the opening month of last year.

Overall, 117 or 77.5% of these newly-reported crimes provided a value, including 10 recorded thefts with a loss of more than €100,000. The combined loss value for the month of €13,805,672 produced an average loss for thefts with a value of €117,997 as TAPA EMEA was notified of incidents in 11 countries in the region.

The United Kingdom continued to record the highest number of crimes in the IIS database, thanks to the consistent level of reporting to IIS by British law enforcement agencies. The 116 freight theft incidents in the UK in January accounted for 76.8% of all crimes during the month and this included one of the biggest and most audacious thefts ever reported to the Association. The loss value of the crime was ten times that of the highest cargo theft in the same month of 2016.

Thieves come back for more and take away two truckloads of car parts worth €5.8m

On 31 January, a stolen HGV reportedly entered through a security gate of a car manufacturing plant in Solihull, West Midlands, at around 10.30pm and is said to have hooked the vehicle up to a trailer loaded with £3 million of car engines in full view of security cameras. According to one media report, the offenders obtained paperwork before leaving the premises that made their escape easier.

Incredibly, the thieves returned to the same site a couple of hours later with the same HGV and were able to steal a second trailer of car parts, reports state. He total loss value recorded by TAPA’s IIS for these two thefts was €5,864,594. Police have since located the empty and abandoned trailers and a reward is being offered for further information.

This was one of three cargo thefts in January with a loss of more than €1 million.

€1.5m of laptops stolen in violent hijacking

The first of these crimes occurred on 5 January when four men reportedly driving an Audi hatchback were involved in a violent hijacking of a truck at an unsecured parking location in Accrington, Lancashire, in the early hours of the morning. They are said to have smashed the windows of the cab and assaulted the driver before taking the driver and vehicle to a business park in Haslingden, 19 miles north of Manchester.

They subsequently loaded 2,000 laptops into a curtain-sided truck before setting fire to the stolen HGV and semi-trailer. The driver was released 2-3 hours after the incident started in Saddleworth near junction 22 of the M62 motorway. The loss value recorded by TAPA EMEA’s IIS was €1,526,113.

Police arrest employee for €1m pharma thefts

Pharmaceuticals were the target in the other million Euro crime, a Theft from Facility in Sharjah, UAE, on 24 January. An employee working at the Origin Facility reported stole products and sold them on to other pharmaceutical companies, according to media stories. An inventory audit found products had been going missing over a 12-month period, culminating in a total loss figure of €1,014,040.

The remaining seven major cargo thefts in January produced a total loss of €1,101,767:


A Theft from Trailer at an Origin Facility in Ringsted, Denmark, 60kms from Copenhagen, on 21 January and the loss of tobacco products. Intelligence reported to TAPA’s IIS states that although the trailer was parked close to the facility’s ramp door, the thieves were able to squeeze between the vehicle and the building in order to pass products to accomplices. 


No product details were recorded for this incident on 12 January, a Theft from Vehicle at an unsecured parking location in Markham Moor, Nottinghamshire, UK. Thieves are said to have cut the curtain sides of a parked and attended HGV and semi-trailer. 


Beer and wine was the target when criminals forced open the gates of a secure haulage yard in Lichfield, Staffordshire, UK, on 13 January. They broke open a key cabinet in order to steal two HGVs and one loaded semi-trailer.  


Loss of pharmaceuticals in a truck hijacking in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 24 January. Police later found the empty vehicle and recovered the stolen products from a house in Mothutlung. 


Radiators were stolen in this Theft from Vehicle crime after criminals cut open the curtain side of a parked and attended HGV and semi-trailer at Toddington Services on the M1 motorway in Bedfordshire, UK, on 18 January.


A violent Theft from Vehicle on 19 January at an unsecured parking location in Atherstone, Warwickshire, UK, in which a driver was threatened with a gun by the offenders before they stole the truck’s load of whisky and escaped in a white van. 


A theft of designer clothing from a vehicle in Basildon, Essex in the UK on 17 January, after thieves cut the curtain side of a parked and attended truck.  

Losses in 14 TAPA IIS product categories

Products were targeted in 14 separate TAPA IIS product categories in January. Food & Drink products, the most stolen types of goods throughout the whole of 2016, retained this unwelcome top spot in the first month of 2017 with 23 reported thefts, 15.2% of the total.

In 69 or 45.7% of crimes, the goods stolen were not stated. Clothing & Footwear was the second highest IIS product category to record losses last month with 15 or 9.9% of the monthly total. Four other categories saw five or more incidents:

·        Furniture/Household Appliances – 8 or 5.2% of thefts in January

·        Tools/Building Materials – 6 or 4%

·        Tyres – 5 or 3.3%

·        Cosmetics & Hygiene – 5 or 3.3%

Theft from Vehicle accounts for 80.7% of crimes

The most recorded types of incident and the locations of the majority of cargo thefts in EMEA also followed the mains trends of 2016.

Most cargo losses in January involved Theft from Vehicle. It was the type of incident stated in 122 or 80.7% of freight crimes. Theft from Trailer was the only other category to reach double figures with 10 loss incidents, 6.6% of January’s recorded crimes.   

Losses reported to TAPA EMEA’s IIS that took place at unsecured parking locations accounted for 98 or 64.9% of the 151 incidents during the month. Intrusion was the M.O. stated in 130 or 86.1% of all cases.

Losses in January with a value of between €50,000 and €100,000

TAPA EMEA’s Incident Information Service (IIS) recorded 45 losses last month within the value range of €50,000 and €100,000. The total loss for these crimes was €2,848,921.

43 of the 45 thefts occurred in the UK, mostly in the East Midlands which is the biggest ‘hotspot’ for cargo thefts across the country. The other incidents in this loss range took place in Germany and Sweden.

Theft from Vehicle accounted for 44 or 97.7% of these January crimes, while 38 or 84.4% were recorded by TAPA’s IIS as taking place at unsecured parking locations.