Recorded cargo crimes reported to TAPA’s Incident Information Service (IIS) fell for the fourth month in-a-row in April but still produced losses of €6,733,937.

The 12.5% fall in cargo crimes recorded by TAPA’s Incident Information Service (IIS) in the Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) region in Q1 2018 was given a cautious welcome by the Association, which remains uncertain as to whether the decline genuinely does indicate a lower level of incident rates or if it is simply a consequence of the lack of crime reporting in so many countries in the region.

If it was the start of a downward trend, TAPA EMEA stated in the Q1/18 report, only data reported in the months ahead would clearly demonstrate whether businesses were starting to see a sustainable improvement in supply chain security.        

April’s IIS intelligence suggests that, perhaps, they are.

TAPA EMEA received reports of 142 cargo theft incidents in the fourth month of 2018, down 28.2% compared to the 198 crimes recorded in the same month of 2017. That figure a year ago – perhaps adding further weight to the argument that cargo crime is slowing down in recent months – was 43.4% higher than the total for April 2016. However, it is important to bear in mind that TAPA EMEA has yet to receive incident data for last month for the Netherlands.   

The total value of crimes providing financial data, however, did rise year-on-year from just over €4.6 million in April 2017 to €6,733,937 last month. This is based on the 122 or 85.9% of recorded thefts in April 2018 stating a value, producing an average loss for these crimes of €55,196.   

Major cargo crimes with a value of 100,000 or more last month produced combined and average loss figures of €3,630,816 and €363,081 respectively. TAPA EMEA is unable to share any intelligence on two of these crimes but the other eight major thefts were:


A shipment of designer watches stolen on 3 April after thieves cut a hole in the tarpaulin curtain of a parked and attended HGV semi-trailer in an unsecured parking location in Lozells, Birmingham, in the United Kingdom.  


Another case of thieves cutting the curtain side of a truck in the UK, this loss of fashion clothing on 17 April also involved a truck parked in an unsecured parking place, this time at Woodall Motorway Service Area (MSA) between junctions 30 and 31 of the M1 in South Yorkshire.


Car Parts were one of the most stolen products in cargo crimes recorded by TAPA’s IIS in Q1 2018 and more cases were reported in April. This particular loss on 24 April saw the theft of a shipment of keys from a trailer while en route in Germany. The M.O. was stated as Deceptive Pick-up.  


Thieves escaped with 864 tyres following another Deceptive Pick-up in Germany on 12 April. The incident is said to have occurred overnight while the truck was en route.


A cargo of Cosmetics & Hygiene products – reported as aftershave lotions – was taken from a truck parked in an unsecured location on an industrial estate in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, UK, on 24 April. The attended vehicle’s curtain side was sliced open to allow the offenders to access the goods.  


On 27 April, a similar incident on an industrial estate in Shepshed, Leicestershire, UK, saw thieves escape with zinc products.


Computer games and equipment were taken from a truck parked in a layby on the A12 in Chelmsford, Essex, in the UK on 17 April.


Another shipment of tyres was stolen on 19 April when offenders cut through the rear door locks and security seals of an HGV semi-trailer in an unsecured parking place in Alfreton in the UK county of Derbyshire.


Just below the thefts classified as major incidents in April were a further 21 crimes recording loss values of between €50,000 & €100,000. These accounted for €1,382,970 of the cases reporting a value last month, and produced an average loss of €65,855.

10 of the highest value crimes in this loss category involved:

·        €98,567 – Tyres stolen after thieves cut the locks and seals of a truck parked on an industrial estate in Rugby, Warwickshire, UK, on 17 April 

·        €89,888 – Wine taken from a truck parked in a layby in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, UK, on 18 April 

·        €89,884 – Another Theft from Vehicle crime involving curtain-cutting on 22 April saw the thieves escape with a shipment of sports shoes after targeting a truck at Trowell MSA between junctions 25 and 26 of the M1 in Nottinghamshire, UK

·        €89,536 – On 16 April, metal products were stolen from a truck parked on an industrial estate in Rugby, Warwickshire

·        €78,778 – When the driver of a truck tried to stop thieves from stealing his cargo of sports clothing, he was threatened with a knife and assaulted. This incident on 12 April was in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, UK 

·        €77,203 – Thieves cut the tarpaulin of a truck parked at a service station in Gravesend, Kent, UK, on 24 April and took Car Parts  

·        €65,947 – Pharmaceuticals were stolen from a truck parked in a layby on the A1 in North Muskham, Nottinghamshire, UK, on 16 April

·        €62,834 – IT products were the target in this incident on 21 April after thieves cut the curtain side of a truck parked on an industrial estate in Derbyshire, UK

·        €61,359 – A layby on the A14 in Kettering, Northamptonshire, was the scene of this crime on 24 April. The offenders cut a hole in the curtain side of the truck and stole car windscreens and parts

·        €55,751 – Computers/Laptops were taken in this Theft from Vehicle incident in Burton upon Trent in Staffordshire, UK, on 24 April. As in a number of other cases reported to TAPA’s IIS in April, the vehicle was parked in an unsecured location on an industrial estate

Once again, due to proactive intelligence sharing by law enforcement agency partners – the United Kingdom recorded the highest number of incidents in the IIS database in April, 114 or 80.4% of the monthly total. None of the other 12 countries in EMEA to suffer cargo thefts during the month reached double figures. The other countries in the top five were:

·        Russia - 5 or 3.5% of the April total

·        Sweden - 5 or 3.5%

·        Germany – 3 or 2.1%

·        Italy – 3 or 2.1%

In the UK, 95.6% of the 114 incidents last month involved trucks parked in unsecured locations. Over 40 of these crimes took place at motorway service areas across the country.

Losses were recorded in 17 TAPA IIS product categories in April. These averaging more than one loss per week during the month were:

·        Food & Drink – 17 (12.0%)

·        Car Parts – 14 (9.9%)

·        Miscellaneous – 10 (7.0%)

·        Computers/Laptops – 9 (6.4%)

·        Clothing & Footwear – 8 (5.6%)

·        Furniture/Household Appliances – 7 (4.9%)

·        Cosmetics & Hygiene – 6 (4.2%)

·        No Load (Theft of truck and/or trailer) – 6 (4.2%)

·        Tobacco – 6 (4.2%)


The types of incidents, crime locations and modus operandi used by cargo thieves continued to follow a now familiar trend:

·        Theft from Vehicle was the most reported type of incident, representing 118 or 83.2% of the month’s crimes. It was followed by two other categories involving trucks; Theft from Trailer with seven incidents and Theft of Vehicle with six    

·        Unsecured Parking was the location given in 116 or 81.7% of April’s incidents

·        With crimes involving thieves cutting open truck tarpaulins alone accounting for 88 of last month’s reports, the most recorded modus operandi was, not surprisingly, Intrusion, which accounted for 110 or 77.5%. There were also eight reports which stated the M.O. as Violent and Threat with Violence.

Incidents of further note during the month saw:

·        A handgun held to a truck driver’s head in Witham, Essex, in the UK, by thieves who escaped with unspecified goods valued at €21,618. The vehicle was parked in a layby at the time of the assault

·        Another case involving Fraud and Deception in Russia resulted in the disappearance of a shipment of tea while en route in Nakhabino, Moscow District, as well as the driver and freight forwarding company responsible for collecting it

·        28 lawnmowers were stolen from a trailer in an unknown location in Sweden

·        On 18 April, €39,818 of beer was stolen when offenders posing as company employees persuaded a delivery driver to load the shipment onto another vehicle

·        The only incident recorded at a Railway Operation Facility took place at Daventry International Freight Terminal in Northamptonshire on 24 April and resulted in the theft of car engines valued at €54,620

·        Another crime was recorded involving thieves cutting a hole in the roof of a truck to reach the products inside

·        In Kenya’s Kiambu County province on 29 April, offenders cut an electric fence mounted on top of a perimeter wall of a Services 3rd Party Facility. They then tied up the night security guards before escaping with cosmetics products 

·        A Last Mile delivery driver in Bootle, Merseyside, in the UK was threatened by two masked men carrying hammers before they stole a shipment of cigarettes   At the UK’s Rivington MSA on the M61 in Lancashire on 13 April, witnesses tried to block a vehicle carrying three males who had broken into a trailer and stolen from its cargo of cigarettes. The thieves, however, were still able to escape

·        Another violent crime was reported at a parking location on the A7 in Belgium, near Nivelles, Walloon Brabant, on 10 April. After failing to cut through several padlocks, the offenders waited for the driver to return from a comfort break before using violence to force him to open the doors of his truck 

·        38 bicycles were stolen from a trailer in Lomma, Skåne County, Sweden, on 16 April


TAPA EMEA members can find more April 2018 cargo crime intelligence in the Association’s password-protected Incident Information Service (IIS) online database.