One of the big cargo crime trends in the EMEA region in 2018 has been the significant increases in loss values.

The region’s newly-published Incident Information Service (IIS) cargo crime report for Q3 2018 reported a total loss of €38,816,175 for the 92 days of July, August and September for the 80.2% of incidents stating a value. This represented a year-on-year increase of 123.3% or more than €21.4m over Q3 2017.  

New IIS data for October continued this theme, producing the biggest overall loss of the year so far of €18,316,065, 296% above the same month of 2017. However, this figure was dominated by a single loss of €10,123,433 of metal in a violent truck hijacking in South Africa’s Limpopo province, according to local media reports. The vehicle in question consisted of two trailers and was returning on the N14 highway from Botswana when it was forced to stop by four men, including one dressed in a traffic officer’s uniform. The driver was threatened with a gun before the hijackers took control of the vehicle.

In October, TAPA’s IIS recorded a total of 229 freight theft incidents – a fall of 6.9% over October 2017 - in 10 countries in the EMEA region, and an average loss for crimes with a value of €115,195, up 234.1% year-on-year.

The number of major crimes with a value of €100,000 or more rose in October 2018 to 13, compared to five a year ago, and accounted for €14,845,633 of the monthly total or an average per incident of €1,141,971.     

The major crimes over the past month which TAPA’s IIS is authorised to published included losses of:


The first of many incidents, and the most-costly loss, at a UK motorway service area (MSA) in October as thieves cut open the tarpaulin side of a parked and attended truck at Birch MSA between junctions 18 and 19 of the M62 on the 6th of the month. They escaped with a high quantity of clothing and footwear products.


A shipment of bicycles was stolen in a similar attack on a truck parked in a layby on the A14 in Stowmarket, Suffolk, in the UK on 16 October. 


Clackett Lane MSA between junctions 5-6 of the UK’s M25 motorway was the scene of this incident on 4 October, which saw offenders break the padlock to the rear doors of a truck loaded with cosmetics and hygiene products. 


Another loss of cosmetics and hygiene goods, also on 4 October, after thieves targeted a truck in Surrey, UK. Although reportedly separately, this may be related to the incident which recorded a €234,367 loss on the same day. 


Cosmetics and hygiene products were also the target in a Theft of Vehicle crime in Vlaardingen, South Holland, on 23 October. The truck, trailer and cargo were stolen. 


In Mellor Brook, Lancashire in the UK, on 18 October, thieves broke into a secured parking location and cut the tarpaulin curtains of seven vehicles before stealing one loaded with unspecified cargo.


Yet another Theft of Trailer crime, this incident resulted in the loss of miscellaneous products from an unsecured parking location in Coventry in the West Midlands region of the UK on 7 October.


Toys and games were targeted on 26 October after the curtain side of a truck was sliced open at an unsecured parking location on the E45 main road in Padborg, Denmark, Ironically, the incident report to TAPA’s IIS stated that the scene of the crime was a mere 3km from a secure parking site. It added that six suspects – all of Polish origin – were arrested. Some were detained at the crime scene and others were detained in Denmark and Germany after being stopped in vans transporting the stolen goods.   


This curtain-cutting incident on 1 October enabled thieves to escape with computers/laptops stolen from a truck parked in a layby in Kilsby, Northampton, in the UK.


A case involving Fraud and a Deceptive Pick-up of furniture from an Origin Facility in Obukhovo in the Moscow region of Russia on 29 October. IIS intelligence states the criminals managed to infiltrate a subcontractor network and forged the paperwork to pick up the load. Multiple subcontracting of the freight order created the opportunity for the theft, as did the lack of awareness and insufficient background checks before the goods were released to what turned out to be a fake carrier.


Aluminium was stolen from a truck in Rotterdam in the Netherlands on 2 October. No further information was made available to TAPA’s IIS.

€921,582 of the total loss figure for October was attributed to the 15 incidents recorded with a loss value of between €50,000 and €100,000. This produced an average loss for these crimes of €61,438.

Incidents in this loss range last month included:


  • €99,537 – Televisions stolen from a truck parked at Tibshelf MSA in Derbyshire, UK, on 3 October
  • €67,483 – Computers/laptops taken from a vehicle at Northampton MSA in the UK’s East Midlands region on 14 October
  • €64,228 – Furniture lost after thieves cut open the curtain side of a parked and attended vehicle in an unknown location in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, UK, on 17 October
  • €64,161 – Fashion clothing stolen on 8 October from a truck parked in a layby in Pontefract, West Yorkshire, a fast-growing hotspot for freight thefts in the UK
  • €58,432 – A shipment of beer taken by thieves who cut a hole in the curtain side of a truck at Markfield MSA in the UK East Midlands region on 8 October
  • €53,374 – Power tools stolen on 2 October from a vehicle parked on an industrial estate near the M62 in Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK 
  • €51,587 – Another crime in Pontefract, UK, resulted in the loss of a cargo of razor blades from a truck left on an industrial estate on 18 October
  • €51,587 – Offenders also cut the tarpaulin side of a vehicle on an industrial estate in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, on 15 October to steal a shipment of fireworks


Of the 10 countries recording thefts from supply chains in the EMEA region in October, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands continued to produce most incident reports, with 161 and 43 respectively, accounting for 89.2% of the month’s total number of incidents.

Russia recorded the third highest number of reported thefts with seven in total, which included five of the six cases of Fraud in the EMEA region in October. In addition to the €120,000 loss listed earlier, two further cases involved fake carriers:

  • A company and driver both disappeared after successfully bidding to transport a shipment of hygiene products, notably children’s nappies, from the Moscow region to Saransk in south east Russia on 16 October. Once again, the IIS incident intelligence report highlighted insufficient background checks for the loss
  • On 24 October, another Deceptive Pick-up enabled thieves to steal a full truck load of metal in the Noginsk region of Moscow. According to the incident report, no security checks were carried out on the company or driver before the collection was organised using an online  freight exchange.


TAPA EMEA members have also been warned about vehicles taking short breaks or night rests near the M10 motorway after multiple cargo thefts and attempted thefts were carried out around the village of Edrovo in the Novgorod region in both September and October. An organised criminal gang is believed to be working in the area.

Another case of Fraud in Russia involved the loss of tools/building materials.

Half of the hijackings reported to TAPA’s IIS in October occurred in France. In Mions, Lyon, on 5 October, armed suspects forced a truck carrying cigarettes to stop on a public highway. The empty vehicle was later found abandoned. And, on 19 October, offenders jumped out of a car and forced a driver delivering a cargo of computer products to stop in Colombier-Saugnieu in the Rhône region of eastern France.

Another hijacking of a cash-in-transit vehicle took place in Berlin, Germany, on 19 October after several armed men wearing masks blocked the front and rear of the truck, forcing it to stop.

All seven cases of Theft from Moving Vehicle crimes involved the loss of tobacco products being transported onboard vehicles in slow moving traffic. Five of these incidents were recorded in the UK in London, Essex, Surrey and the West Midlands, and there were also similar incidents in Andalusia in Spain as well as in Lille, France. 

Of the 14 TAPA IIS incident categories recording cargo thefts in October, most involved losses of Tobacco, 44 crimes in total or 19.2% of the monthly total. Five other categories suffered 10 or more incidents:

·         Cosmetics & Hygiene – 23 or 10.1%

·         Food & Drink – 19 or 8.3%

·         Furniture/Household Appliances – 16 or 7%

·         No Load (Theft of truck and/or trailer) – 13 or 5.7%

·         Clothing & Footwear – 10 or 4.4%

In 185 or 80.8% of crimes last month, the type of incident reported to TAPA’s Incident Information Service was Theft from Vehicle. Almost without exception, every incident in October involved offenders targeting trucks.

Unsecured Parking remained the most reported type of location, with 133 incidents representing 58.1% of the October total.



Based on losses reported in TAPA’S Vigilant e-magazine

October - €18,316,065

September - €5,900,218

August - €13,881,505

July - €15,813,480

June - €7,869,198

May - €8,904,440

April - €6,733,937

March - €6,487,888

February - €6,561,639

January - €8,620,896