Reported losses with a value in December 2017 totalled over €4 million as the average loss for major crimes exceeded €263,000

With monthly incident data from TAPA EMEA’s Dutch and Swedish law enforcement agency partners not available in time to be included in the TAPA IIS analysis for December 2017, the year ended with a 31.9% drop in the number of recorded cargo crimes in the Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) region compared to the corresponding month a year ago. The 117 freight thefts reported to IIS last month still, however, produced an accumulated loss of €4,067,625 for the 70.9% of incidents with a value and an average loss of €49,007.

Given that in December 2016, the Netherlands and Sweden contributed 68 or 39.5% of that month’s total, indicators would suggest that the final number of crimes for December 2017 will likely be similar year-on-year once all the incident data has been collated.

Last month’s crimes included seven incidents with losses of €100,000 or more. The total loss value of these crimes of €1,847,043 produced an average figure per theft of €263,862.

The biggest loss by far in December occurred on the third day of the month and saw thieves escape with whiskey worth €1,135,601 following the theft of a trailer from a secured parking location in Banbury, Oxon, UK. The offenders used their own tractor unit to facilitate the crime.

The six other major losses were also recorded in the UK and involved:


Computers/Laptops were stolen in this Theft from Vehicle incident on 5 December in Kettering, Northamptonshire, after thieves cut open the curtain side of a parked and attended truck.


Toddington Motorway Services in Bedfordshire remained a hotspot for cargo thieves. In this crime on 22 December, offenders cut the tarpaulin side of a parked and attended truck and semi-trailer and stole televisions.


900 bottles of perfume and men’s fragrances were taken in Ashford, Kent, on 11 December. Thieves reportedly broke into a truck left in an unsecured parking location on an industrial estate between 04.00-05.00hrs.   


Televisions were also the target in this incident on 6 December, another crime involving a parked and attended trailer. According to the incident description, the thieves cut the side curtain of the vehicle at an unsecured truck stop in Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire.  


Whiskey and vodka were stolen in another Theft from Vehicle incident. This crime on 13 December, which again saw the offenders targeting a truck in an unsecured parking place, occurred in Barking, Essex.     


A shipment of ovens was stolen when a vehicle stopped in an unsecured parking location in Egginton, Derbyshire, on 21 December. This was another crime that involved the thieves cutting open the truck’s tarpaulin curtain to reach the goods inside.


A further 11 cargo crimes were reported to TAPA EMEA’s IIS database in December. The total loss of these incidents – which all featured ‘curtain cutting’ - was €714,994 and the individual cases involved:

  • €96,330 – On 20 December, a shipment of Tyres was stolen from a truck parked in an unsecured location in Derby, UK
  • €79.405 – On 8 December, unspecified products were taken from a truck on the A13 in Dresden, Saxony, in Germany 
  • €72,605 – Another loss of unspecified cargo, this time on 1 December in Carlton-on-Trent in Nottinghamshire, UK
  • €63,530 – Miscellaneous household goods were lost in this Theft from Vehicle crime in Shepshed, Leicestershire, UK, on 6 December
  • €62,400 – This incident on 29 December took place at Blyth Services on the A1(M) in Worksop, Nottinghamshire, UK. No details were recorded for the products that were stolen 
  • €62,290 – Northampton Motorway Service Area on the M1 in the UK was the scene of this crime on 12 December in which a shipment of shirts was stolen
  • €62,134 – Another incident at Blyth Services in the UK East Midlands. No further information is available for this loss other than it occurred on 29 December
  • €62,068 – The UK’s East Midlands Airport was the location of this Theft of Vehicle crime on 16 December. Thieves took the HGV and semi-trailer from a secured parking location. No load was onboard at the time
  • €52,185 -Food & Drink products were targeted in this incident, which involved a vehicle that had parked on an industrial estate in Shepshed, Leicestershire, UK, on 6 December. It is not known if this is connected to the previously mentioned crime in Shepshed on the same night
  • €51,051 – A large quantity of chocolate was stolen from a truck parked in a layby on the M1 in Crick, Northamptonshire, in the UK on 4 December
  • €50,996 – A layby on the A50 in Hanley, Staffordshire, UK, was the scene of this Theft from Vehicle crime on 12 December and the loss of Phones

Food & Drink and Tobacco were the only TAPA IIS product categories to record 10 or more losses last month, 17 or 14.5% of the total and 14 or 11.9% respectively.

74.3% of all crimes took place in the UK

Of the 11 countries that recorded cargo crimes in the TAPA IIS database in December 2017, only the UK saw its incident rate go into double figures. It accounted for 87 or 74.3% of the 117 losses during the month. Germany with six crimes recorded the second highest total.

TAPA received intelligence on eight freight thefts that involved the use or threat of violence. These saw:

  • Threats made to a driver who disturbed thieves stealing €38,536 of Clothing & Footwear from his truck, which had parked in a layby on the A50 in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, in the UK on 4 December
  • Another driver was threatened with a knife by offenders dressed in black and wearing balaclavas as they stole a significant quantity of tobacco products. No words were spoken by the two male thieves, who carried out their crime at a Destination Facility in St. Helens, Merseyside, UK, on 27 December
  • Two attackers tied up a driver after forcing his vehicle to stop shortly after it left a Services 3rd Party Facility in Mannheim, Baden-Württemberg in Germany on 21 December. The early morning incident saw the thieves take the driver’s keys and drive off with the loaded vehicle. No product details are available
  • Five offenders armed with guns used two vans to block a ring road near Milan’s Linate Airport and to kidnap a driver before moving the loaded vehicle to the next motorway exit, using a GPS jammer to block its location. However, the attackers abandoned the truck and absconded after spotting a routine police patrol in the area on 20 December
  • A security guard and his vehicle were hijacked and a truck driver threatened with a gun as thieves stole a cargo of cigarettes from a Last Mile delivery vehicle in Bari, Italy, on 20 December
  • A similar attack targeting a Last Mile delivery of cigarettes occurred in a secured parking location in Fiumefreddo di Sicilia in Italy on 12 December. Once again, the driver was threatened with a gun
  • In France, another Last Mile delivery of tobacco products saw a driver and security guard face a violent intervention by thieves in Chelles in the eastern suburbs of Paris on 8 December
  • Cigarettes were also the target when an armed attacker forced a driver to hand over the keys to his vehicle in Attiki, a neighbourhood of Athens, Greece, on 5 December. In this incident, the vehicle monitoring station was alerted and was able to immobilise the vehicle, which was located by police within 5-7 minutes of the start of the crime. Police later arrested a suspect.


Theft from Vehicle was the only type of incident to record double-digit crimes in December. It was reported in 90 or 76.8% of thefts notified to the IIS team, 76.8% of the overall total. As is now the case every month, most cargo losses – 83 or 71% - occurred when vehicles stopped in unsecured parking locations.

TAPA EMEA members can find further information in the password-protected Incident Information Service (IIS) database.