With cargo crime data still being reported to TAPA’s Incident Information Service (IIS) database for December, a total of 209 incidents have so far been recorded for the final month of 2020, producing a total loss value of €3,683,087or over €118,000 of stolen goods every day.

To date, TAPA has been notified of attacks on supply chains in 13 countries across the Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) region. These produced an average loss of €41,383 for the 89 or 42.5% of crime reports stating a value.

The 10 incidents with the highest reported values in December produced a total loss of €1,626,043 or an average of €162,604. These crimes where:


Offenders slashed the tarpaulin curtain of a truck parked in an undisclosed location in Sawtry, Cambridgeshire in the United Kingdom, on 10 December and escaped with 14 pallets of sports nutrition products. The driver was asleep in his cab at the time.


On 10 December, 200 chainsaws and hedge cutters were stolen from a truck which had stopped overnight at a service station in Lohfelden, Hesse, Germany. The driver only noticed the theft after resuming his journey. 


In Terlizzi in Italy’s Apulia region, an armed gang of at least four offenders used a car to intercept a truck carrying a shipment of olive oil on 22 December. After forcing the driver to stop, they unhitched the trailer, which was taken to an unknown location, while other members of the gang hijacked the tractor unit.


Another major incident took place in Germany during the night of 9 December in Halle, Saxony-Anhalt, and resulted in the loss of a shipment of electric bikes from a truck in an unclassified parking location. The thieves cut open the tarpaulin side of the trailer unit and unloaded 59 bicycles. 


The first of two six-figure losses from Bicester motorway service area in the UK. This crime on 2 December saw the thieves escape with over €100K of IT products after cutting the rear door locks of the parked vehicle. 


On 9 December, a driver who had parked his vehicle in Maidenhead in the south east of England, UK, reported the theft of a shipment of wristwatches. On opening the boxes, it was discovered that the watches had been replaced with cans of dog food. It is unclear where en route the loss took place.


At a motorway service area in Bicester, UK, on 14 December, a consignment of electrical goods was stolen after offenders cut the seals ad padlocks of a parked truck.


An internal investigation into cargo losses from a Services 3rd Party Facility in Castel San Giovanni in the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna led to the arrests of 17 employees on 10 December. It is believed that goods worth some €100K may have been stolen by the group, mostly targeting household appliances and electronics products. The goods were hidden above a false ceiling in a restroom at the facility, which was outside of the controlled area. The group reported posted lookouts while they were moving stolen items from their hiding place into vans to take them from the facility.


On 13 December, offenders used a forklift truck to smash down an entrance gate and to demolish a wall of an Origin Facility in Bully-Les-Mines in northern France. After reaching a storage room, they stole 10 tons of zinc and brass tap parts.


In Brindisi, Apulia, Italy, on 28 December, a group of offenders with firearms attacked a cash-in-transit van and forced the driver and guards to hand over a case full of cash.   

December also saw reports of a further eight incidents with recorded loss values of between €50,000 and €100,000. These produced a total loss of €514,091 or an average of €64,261:

  • €80,000 - Three pallets of e-cigarettes and nicotine capsules were stolen from an HGV in an unclassified parking location in Aurach, Germany, on 3 December. Thieves cut the curtain side of the vehicle while the driver as asleep inside his cab;
  • €77,476 – Offenders accessed a key safe at a facility in Bristol, UK, on 5 December, enabling them to steal an unattended HGV and trailer from its transport yard;  
  • €67,480 – A shipment of chocolate was stolen from a truck parked in an unclassified parking location in the Russian city of Dolgoprudny on 9 December. The cargo was reportedly diverted to the city by one of the company’s transport dispatchers;
  • €64,704 - In Orebro, Sweden, on 5 December, a trailer parked in a fenced-off transport yard over the first weekend of the month was broken into by offenders. After accessing the cargo onboard, they escaped with a shipment of laptops;
  • €60,000 - Seven staff working in a Services 3rd Party Facility in Bailleul in northern France were arrested on 1 December following an investigation into the disappearance of stock from the warehouse. The facility’s management used CCTV footage to capture evidence of the thefts, which reportedly involved losses of confectionary products over a 12-month period; 
  • €57,846 – A trailer loaded with cosmetics products was stolen on 8 December after thieves arrived in their own tractor unit at a haulage yard in Southampton, UK. They were able to hook up the loaded trailer and drive away;
  • €55,119 - Luxury hot tubs were taken from a facility in Macmerry, Scotland, on 12 December after thieves broke into a warehouse next door and stole a forklift truck to load the hot tubs into their truck. Some of the offenders reportedly spoke to staff at the neighbouring facility to explain the hot tubs were being moved to another location;
  • €51,466 - On 1 December, offenders cut the seals and padlocks of a truck parked on a roadside in Armthorpe, South Yorkshire, in the UK, and stole its cargo of food and drink products.


TAPA EMEA’s IIS team received reports of cargo thefts in 13 countries in the region last month. 156 or 74.6% of the recorded incidents took place in the UK. Of the rest, Germany was the only country with a double-digit rate of incidents, recording 13, 6.2% of the December total.

Losses were recorded in 16 TAPA IIS product categories. In 127 or 60.7% of crime reports, the goods stolen were recorded as either Unspecified or Miscellaneous. The known product categories with five incidents or ore in December were: 

  • Tobacco – 22 incidents or 10.5% of the monthly total
  • Food & Drink – 17 or 8.1%
  • Cosmetics & Hygiene – 6 or 2.9%
  • Furniture/Household Appliances – 6  or 2.9%
  • No Load (Theft of truck and/or trailer) – 5 or 2.4%
  • Clothing & Footwear – 5 or 2.4%

Theft from Vehicle – with 154 incidents or 73.6% of the total – and Theft of Vehicle, 11 or 5.2%, were the most recorded types of incidents in December. As usual, most cargo thefts stemmed from vehicles stopping in unclassified parking locations, representing 65.6% or 137 of the December crimes.   

Other TAPA IIS intelligence of note in December included:

  • Several violent attacks were reported in Spring in South Africa’s Gauteng province, including offenders setting up fires on roads and firing shots at passing trucks to force them to stop. In one case, on 10 December, offenders driving a white 4x4 with blue lights ordered a truck to stop before hijacking the vehicle and its load of cigarettes;
  • A violent attack on a cash-in-transit vehicle in Dublin, Ireland, on 15 December. The driver was approached by a single offender armed with a hammer and forced to hand over a cashbox. The box was later found empty and on fire in a nearby road;
  • A truck hijacking by five hooded offenders with firearms in Italy on 16 December. The truck, trailer and its cargo of furniture/household appliances were recovered in Barletta, Apulia;
  • The torching of 27 empty delivery vans at a logistics facility in Ambares-et-Lagrave, France, on 24 December by offenders who had used cutting equipment to gain entry to the site;
  • The use of nails spread across the highway in an unsuccessful attempt to stop a cash-in-transit truck in Bitonto in Italy on 28 December.