TAPA EMEA’s Incident Information Service (IIS) recorded only three cargo thefts between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve 2018 but by then the damage to supply chains had already been done, with incidents for the month up 106.8% year-on-year and losses with a value soaring by 77% over December 2017 to more than €7 million.

The 242 incidents recorded over the 31 days of last month compared to 117 in December of the previous year, while December 2018’s total value of losses of €7,201,857 far exceeded the €4,067,625 a year earlier. 

Based on the 167 or 69% of crimes with a value, the average loss for December was €43,124.

Data produced by TAPA’s IIS shows a total of 15 major incidents last month with losses above €100,000. These included:


On 9 December, two men wearing high visibility jackets entered the yard of a Services 3rd Party Facility in Paisley, Scotland, and were able to drive off with a truck loaded with alcohol. According to the intelligence report, on leaving the site, the truck followed a small black car to a nearby industrial estate where the trailer was hooked up to a different tractor unit and driven away.  


Offenders who gained access to an Authorised 3rd Party Facility in Sunbury-on-Thames in Surrey, UK, on 2 December used four sets of keys to steal three HGV tractor units and a trailer loaded with clothing and footwear products.


Another Theft from Facility on 3 December resulted in the loss of computers/laptops from an Authorised 3rd Party Facility in Daventry, Northamptonshire, in the UK. According to reports, a man scaled the five-storey warehouse and broke in through the roof. Police officers, who had been alerted to the crime taking place, found the man hiding in the warehouse and a search of woodland near to the site enabled them to recover laptops and tablets stolen from the building.  


Computers/laptops were also reported stolen on 10 December after the curtain tarpaulin of a parked and attended trailer was sliced open in Raunds, Northamptonshire, UK.


Still in the UK, on 7 December, three containers loaded with tyres were stolen after thieves entered a secured compound in Walsall in the West Midlands.


The highest value cargo crime recorded outside of the UK in December took place on the 2nd of the month in Hermsdorf in the district of Berlin, Germany, and involved the theft of a vehicle and its cargo of rum. The driver reportedly left the vehicle on a business park over the weekend, only to discover it and then cargo had been stolen when he returned to collect it on Sunday evening.  


An unsecured parking location on the A556 in Knutsford, Cheshire, UK, was the scene of this crime, which resulted in the loss of phones, laptops and tablets from an HGV semi-trailer. It is not clear how the thieves gained entry to the vehicle, which was targeted on 6 December.


An HGV loaded with musical equipment including guitars was stolen from a Services 3rd Party Facility in Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK, on 13 December, after offenders entered a warehouse yard and forced entry into the parked and unattended vehicle. The empty truck was later found abandoned.


185 televisions disappeared on 9 December after the curtain side of a truck was cut open in a layby on the A45 in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, UK.


TAPA’s IIS received two separate notifications of incidents with this loss value in Scotland, both involving the theft of alcohol. In the first crime reported on 9 December, alcohol was stolen from two trailers in an unsecured parking location in Linwood, Renfrewshire, while a week later, on 16 December, TAPA also recorded the loss of a cargo of gin and whisky after a loaded trailer was stolen in nearby Greenock.   


Household appliances, including fridges and cookers, were stolen from a vehicle parked in a layby on the A14 in Woodford, Northamptonshire, on 12 December, after offenders cut open the curtain side of the truck.


On 3 December, the same M.O. was used to steal unknown goods from a truck parked on an industrial estate in Milton Keynes, UK.


The 15 major crimes during the month produced a total combined loss of €3,444,887 or an average per crime of €229,659.


In the loss category involving goods with a value of between €50,000 and €100,000, TAPA EMEA received reports of 23 crimes last month, producing a total loss and average loss of €1,449,182 and €63,007 respectively. Both the number of incidents and combined value were more than double the corresponding figures for December 2017.

Cargo thefts in this loss range included:

·         €86,276 – The theft of two parked and unattended trailers loaded with alcohol from a secured parking site on an industrial estate in Liverpool, North West UK, on 15 December. The thieves used two cloned tractor units to steal the trailers, which were carrying shipments of wine and cider. One of the trailers was later found empty in Skelmersdale in West Lancashire 

·         €84,030 – A shipment of televisions was stolen on 16 December after offenders cut the curtain side of a truck parked in a layby on the A1 in Newark-on-Trent in Northamptonshire, UK

·         €75,254 – Newport Pagnell motorway services on the M1 in Buckinghamshire, UK, was the location of this crime on 4 December which saw thieves escape with a cargo of sports clothing after slashing the tarpaulin of a semi-trailer

·         €72,826 – Another curtain-cutting incident, this time featuring a truck parked in a layby in Cromwell, Nottinghamshire, UK, ended with the theft of copper products on 17 December 

·         €71,705 – Gin was stolen from a truck parked at Watford Gap motorway services on the M1 in Northamptonshire on 13 December

·         €65,283 – A semi-trailer loaded with furniture was stolen on 8 December after thieves used a tractor unit to force entry into the secured yard of a logistics depot in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire 

·         €62,742 – Assorted clothing and footwear items were taken from a parked and attended truck in a layby on the A14 in Kettering, Northamptonshire, on 19 December after thieves cut the curtain side of the vehicle

·         €62,306 – Another shipment of gin was reported stolen from a vehicle parked in an unknown location in Coleshill, Warwickshire, on 6 December

·         €62,306 – A day earlier, 5 December, TAPA’s IIS received a report of the theft of food and drink products from a vehicle parked on the A1 in Ferrybridge, West Yorkshire

·         €61,622 – In another tarpaulin-cutting crime, offenders stole cosmetics from a truck in Castleford, West Yorkshire, on 13 December

Other products reported stolen in this value category in December included tyres, copper pipes, cleaning products, coffee machines, laptops, aluminium, and window frame fittings.

Of the 15 TAPA IIS product categories recording losses last month, Tobacco suffered the highest incident rate with 41 thefts or attempted thefts – 16.9% of the monthly total. Three other categories saw double-digit incident rates:

·         Food & Drink – 30 incidents, 12.4% of the December total

·         Furniture/Household Appliances – 16 or 6.6%

·         Clothing & Footwear – 15 or 6.2%

·         Miscellaneous – 14 or 5.8%

Overall, cargo crimes were recorded by TAPA EMEA in 10 countries in the region, most notably:

·         United Kingdom – 173 crimes or 71.5% of the monthly total

·         Netherlands – 42 or 17.4%

·         Germany – 14 or 5.8%


Incidents were also recorded in France (4), Austria (2), Belgium (2), Russia (2) and single crimes in Poland, Romania and South Africa.


In 208 or 86% of cargo crimes reported in December, the incident category stated was Theft from Vehicle, while Intrusion was the most recorded modus operandi, featuring in 207 or 85.6% of intelligence reports. Most crimes continued to involve thieves targeting trucks in Unsecured Parking locations, which accounted for 138 or 57% of last month’s total.  


TAPA members can see further information on these and all of the incidents recorded in December in the password-protected IIS database.