Recorded cargo thefts in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region fell for the fifth consecutive month in May 2018, according to incidents reported to TAPA’s Incident Information Service (IIS).

The 128 new crimes recorded last month represented a 39.6% decline over the 212 thefts or attempted thefts added to the IIS database in May 2017, although other indicators rose significantly:


·        The total loss for the 104 or 81.2% of crimes reporting a value of €8,904,440 was more than €2.8m higher than a year ago

·        Major cargo crimes with a loss value of €100,000 or more rose from six to 17 year-on-year

·        The average loss for incidents with a value in May 2018 was €85,619 or over €37,000 more than for the same month of 2017


The 17 major losses produced a combined value of €6,614,106 or an average per crime of €389,065.


TAPA EMEA’s IIS also recorded 10 further incidents with loss values of between €50,000 and €100,000. These represented €688,186 of May’s total losses, averaging €68,818.


Major crimes last month were led by two seven-figure thefts:      



What were described as highly experienced and well-researched thieves broke into a Services 3rd Party Facility warehouse using the only access point not covered by an alarm. The offenders reportedly demonstrated a good knowledge of the area and would have needed a specific plan of action to steal and store the medicines they escaped with due to how quickly the cargo can become compromised if not kept at a certain temperature. The crime took place in Grosseto, Tuscany, in Italy on 16 May.



16 May was also the date of the second highest recorded loss during the month. A truckload of cigarettes was stolen in Saint Petersburg, Russia, while the driver was waiting for the load’s paperwork to be completed at the shipper’s warehouse. According to the incident report, criminals broke the side window of the truck cabin, hot-wired the engine and made their escape. The driver witnessed the scene and immediately reported the theft to the police, who located the vehicle a few hours later after picking up a tracking signal from the truck’s GPS system. The offenders had fled the scene but the cargo was fully recovered.


The other major losses notified to TAPA’s IIS in May involved:



The second high value loss in Italy occurred on 19 May after a truck carrying food and drink was hijacked and its driver kidnapped at a petrol station in the province of Caserta. National Traffic Police are said to have later arrested two people in Naples, both previous offenders, who were subsequently charged with robbery and receiving stolen goods. Investigators also recovered a GPS jammer from a car and later located the hijacked truck parked on an industrial estate close to where the suspects were arrested. The stolen load was also still onboard the vehicle.



A shipment of CCTV equipment was stolen from a truck parked in a layby in Newmarket, Suffolk, in the UK on 14 May after offenders approached the attended HGV and semi-trailer and cut the locks and seals of the shipping container to steal products. Awoken by noise and movement in the vehicle and one of the offenders trying to force entry into the cab, the driver started the engine and was able to drive off. The suspects escaped.



Fraudulent actions by a fake carrier led to the disappearance of three trucks loaded with tyres from an unknown location in Germany on 30 May.



On 21 May, fashion clothing was stolen from a vehicle left in an unsecured parking place on an industrial estate in Dartford, Kent, UK. The thieves took the goods after cutting a hole in the tarpaulin side of the vehicle. TAPA’s IIS also received a separate report of a theft of clothing in the same location on 20 May with a value of €181,680.   



In Newton le Willows in Merseyside, UK, on 12 May, offenders forced their way into a secured logistics premises and stole tractor units and two loaded semi-trailers before making their escape. The products stolen were unspecified.



After entering a secured Service 3rd Party Facility transport yard in Immingham, Humberside in the UK on 6 May, thieves stole a tractor and semi-trailer with a container loaded with a cargo of prosecco 



This violent hijacking saw the offenders target a truck parked in a layby in Salford in Greater Manchester, UK, on 24 May. After smashing the cab window, and attacking and kidnapping the driver, they were able to steal 23 tonnes of copper. The driver was later released several miles away from where the incident occurred.    



Another crime which saw thieves able to steal a tractor unit and loaded semi-trailer from a secured yard. In this case on 19 May, the offenders escaped with a cargo of washing powder and cosmetic products from the site in North Killingholme in Lincolnshire, UK.



A vehicle loaded with beer was stolen from a layby in Welford, Northamptonshire, UK, on 14 May. The tractor unit was later recovered but its semi-trailer and load had disappeared.



Another Theft of Vehicle from a secured yard, this time on an industrial estate in Lutterworth, Leicestershire, UK, saw the thieves escape with a load of bouncy castles on 22 May.



TAPA’s IIS recorded two thefts of tyres from vehicles parked in unsecured parking locations in Castle Donington, Leicestershire, UK, on 22 and 21 May. The other report stated a loss value of €112,228.



In the south east district of Moscow, Russia, on 25 May, a thief drove off with a truck and its cargo of clothing and footwear after the driver went into a motorway service area.



On the same date, thieves stole computers/laptops after forcing open the locks and seals of a truck parked at a motorway service area in Northampton in the UK. 



The 10 cargo thefts will losses values between €50,000 and €100,000 were:

·        €96,517 – Fashion clothing stolen from a parked and attended HGV and semi-trailer in Luton, Bedfordshire, UK on 10 May. At the time of the report to TAPA’s IIS, the driver and load were still missing

·        €85,553 – Car parts were taken after offenders cut the curtain side of a parked and attended truck at Waterstock motorway service area on the M4 at Wheatley, Oxfordshire, UK on 22 May 

·        €80,025 – Wine was stolen in this Theft from Vehicle crime in Stanford le Hope, Essex, in the UK on 24 May. The attended vehicle was parked on an industrial estate at the time of the crime

·        €74,340 – A further theft of tyres in Castle Donington, Leicestershire, UK. This crime on 11 May took place at the Donington Park service area

·        €74,154 – Electrical goods were stolen from a truck that had stopped in an unsecured parking location in Tiffield, Northamptonshire, on 29 May

·        €66,119 – Nappies and toilet paper were stolen from a truck in Port Elizabeth, South Africa,  on 1 May. Police later arrested two men aged 20 and 22 as they were seen trying to flee from the stolen vehicle  

·        €54,897 – In Shepshed, Leicestershire, UK, on 10 May, thieves cut the curtain side of a truck left in an unsecured parking location on an industrial estate and escaped with car parts 

·        €54,128 – In this incident in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, a truck driver claimed his vehicle had been hijacked by two gunmen in the early hours of the morning on the N2 near Bluewater Bay, who then stole his cargo of alcohol. However, he later changed his story and told police he had colluded with the men who took the cargo on 12 May     

·        €51,332 – The cargo stolen in this Theft from Vehicle incident in Milton Keynes, UK, on 22 May was unspecified. This was yet another crime involving a truck parked in an unsecured location

·        €51,121 – Coffee machines were taken from a vehicle parked at a motorway service area between junctions 23 and 24 of the M1 in Derbyshire, UK, on 8 May

95 or 74.2% of the cargo crimes reported to TAPA’s IIS in May were recorded in the United Kingdom. None of the other 13 countries suffering freight thefts during the month reported more than five crimes.

Of the 15 TAPA IIS product categories recording losses last month, the top six were:

·        Food & Drink -25 incidents or 19.5% of the May total

·        Tobacco – 9 or 7%

·        Clothing & Footwear – 9 or 7%

·        Cosmetics & Hygiene – 7 or 5.5%

·        Furniture/Household Appliances – 4 or 3.1%

·        Tyres – 4 or 3.1%

The most recorded types of incident, location and M.O. were:

·        Incident: Theft from Vehicle – 83 or 64.8%

·        Location: Unsecured Parking – 95 or 74.2%

·        M.O: Intrusion – 105 or 82%

Other incident reports to highlight last month included:

·        Thieves cut a hole in the end wall of a railway container to steal its cargo of cigarettes. The shipment was travelling from Kiev to Mongolia and was discovered as the train was crossing the Ukraine/Russia border on 26 May. Part of the load was later found along the railway line between Yampil and Mikhaylovskiy

·        Gas may have been used to send a driver into a deep sleep while thieves cut a 30x30cm hole in the side of his vehicle at a secured parking site in Waregem, Belgium, on 30 May. No cargo was reported stolen

·        In Nanaga, South Africa, on 24 May, cars boxed in a truck as it drove along the highway and forced it off the road. Five gunmen then took over the truck and its cargo of meat, kidnapping the driver and two assistants, who were later released 

·        The driver of a truck carrying tobacco returned to his vehicle after a short break at a motorway services in Saint-Nabord in Grand Est, France, on 29 May to discover someone had tried unsuccessfully to burn a hole through the trailer door

·        On 25 May on the E19 between the Dutch border and Antwerp, Belgium, the occupants of a grey BMW with Bulgarian license plates, tried to force a truck driver to pull over, signalling a problem with his vehicle’s lights. The driver refused to stop, but, after arriving at his destination, found the lights to be working correctly

·        On 20 May, a driver who had stopped to refuel his vehicle as a gas station in Hazeldonk, Netherlands, found his truck had been blocked in by vehicles whose occupants claimed to be police officers. They asked the driver to exit his cab to check the vehicle’s lights but he refused and was eventually allowed to leave. The driver had become suspicious of the men because of irregularities in their police badges, vehicles and clothing

·        A police officer in Doncaster in the UK became suspicious after seeing a vehicle parked close to a lorry in a layby on 14 May and the rear doors of the truck open. Offenders who quickly fled the scene had transferred over €125,000 of sports clothing into their own vehicle – fitted with cloned number plates – without the truck driver noticing. The goods were subsequently reloaded into the correct vehicle

·        In Cameroon on 5 May, a gang of six heavily-armed men created a road block at around 02.30hrs along a stretch of road between Mamfe and Adawso and attempted to rob five trucks. However, the gunmen fled into the bush and disappeared after police officers, alerted by drivers, arrived on the scene

TAPA members can access further information in the password-protected IIS database.