Cargo thefts from vehicles in Europe highlight why companies need to support TAPA’s secure parking programme

As TAPA EMEA prepares to roll out its new Parking Security Requirements (PSR) to Parking Place Operators (PPO) in Europe, the Association’s members are being asked once again to help identify sites in the region that can be approached to join TAPA’s secure parking programme.

TAPA Incident Information Service (IIS) data for the first five months of the year reinforces the need for more secure parking places. Of the 950 cargo crimes reported in Vigilant for the period from 1 January-31 May, 2017, 694 or 73% of theft incidents occurred in unsecured parking places, a rate of 4.5 a day.

The latest intelligence for May shows three-quarters of all newly-recorded incidents took place in such parking locations, a total of 160 crimes.

Tony Kavanagh, TAPA EMEA’s Secure Parking Working Group Lead, says it is vital for members to support the initiative. “This month’s approval of the new PSR Security Standard means we are now ready to start contacting PPOs to join the programme and to start building a network of secure parking places for our members in Europe. We have previously stated that we have a list of 520 sites in 35 countries to approach and that sounds like a lot but the simple fact is it’s not enough. Obviously we expect some PPOs to be more responsive than others to this new business opportunity. That’s why we want to follow-up every opportunity and contact we receive.”

If you wish to share information on secure parking locations or other parking sites in key locations in Europe that you would like to see improve their on-site security, please forward their details to secure.parking@(*** please remove ***)       

TAPA’s Secure Parking Working Group is also looking to identify organisations that are the key decision-makers for Parking Place Operators.

Over 93% of cargo thefts involved trucks in May

The number of cargo crimes reported to TAPA EMEA in May reinforces the need to improve security for trucks and drivers with the top five incidents all vehicle-related:

·        Theft from Vehicle – 165 incidents, 77.8% of the monthly total

·        Theft of Vehicle – 11 or 5.2%

·        Hijacking – 9 or 4.3%

·        Theft from Trailer – 8 or 3.7%

·        Theft of Trailer – 6 or 2.8%

In comparison, there were only three cases involving Theft from Facility.

Overall in May, TAPA’s IIS team recorded 212 new cargo theft incidents, 27.7% more than in the same month of 2016. Crimes were reported in 13 countries in EMEA.

Losses with a value exceeded €6.1 million last month

The total loss value for the 128 or 60.4% of newly-recorded incidents providing financial data was €6,196,879. This included six major losses with an individual value of €100,000 or more and resulted in an average loss for the month of €48,413.

Nearly 80% of crime reports last month came from the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, which continues to reflect the strong intelligence sharing relationships the Association enjoys with law enforcement agencies in both countries. 123 or 58% of incidents recorded by TAPA’s IIS in May took place in the UK, while the figure of 46 cargo crimes in the Netherlands represented a further 21.7% of the total.

Elsewhere in Europe, the true picture of thefts from supply chains is far less clear as TAPA continues to seek reliable and regular sources of intelligence. The number of recorded crimes in May in the following countries, therefore, should not be seen to imply they are any more secure for high value, theft targeted goods in transit:

·        Germany – 6 reported incidents in May 2017

·        Italy – 3

·        Belgium – 2

·        Spain – 2

·        France – 1

Once again, TAPA is asking all Vigilant readers for any help or contacts they can provide who may be able to contribute cargo crime data in these or, indeed, any countries in the EMEA region. To help, please contact iis@(*** please remove ***)

The same story is true in South Africa, as previously stated over the past 12-18 months. In May, only seven cargo theft incidents were added to the IIS database. Surely TAPA members based in South Africa or who are responsible for managing operations there hear and see more incident reports? Do not automatically assume they are being reported to TAPA’s IIS by someone else.  

Three countries that only appear in the IIS database infrequently all recorded incidents last month:

·        Cyprus – the scene of a Theft of Vehicle loaded with alcohol from a Services 3rd Party Facility in Paphos on 9 May

·        Mozambique – a violent robbery of a cash-in-transit truck on 30 May after gang members posed as security guards outside a bank in the coastal city of Beira. One of the guards in the truck was seriously injured in the attack   

·        Uganda – a Theft of Vehicle and unspecified cargo from an unsecured parking location in Entebbe on 6 May

Thefts recorded in 16 IIS product categories

Losses were recorded in 16 TAPA IIS product categories, with four suffering 10 or more incidents in this reporting period:

·        Furniture/Household Appliances – 17 incidents or 8% of the May total

·        Food & Drink – 17 or 8%

·        Clothing & Footwear – 15 or 7%

·        No Load (Theft of truck and/or trailer) – 11 or 5.2%

18,000 phones stolen in Malaga

The biggest single loss in May was a shipment of mobile phones valued at €800,000 which was stolen from a Services 3rd Party Facility in Malaga, Spain, on 8 May. Police stated that the thieves broke into the facility and destroyed the CCTV cameras before escaping with 18,000 phones.

The five other crimes reported to TAPA last month with a loss value of more than €100,000 were:


This incident involved a Theft of Trailer in Jönköping, Sweden, on 2 May and the loss of Computers/Laptops.


A truck carrying unspecified cargo and en route to Namibia was hijacked on 27 May in Johannesburg in South Africa’s notorious Gauteng province.


On 19 May, another violent truck hijacking in Pretoria, Gauteng province, resulted in the loss of phones and tablets. According to one report, the truck was forced off the N4 highway by five vehicles carrying armed suspects. In the subsequent shoot-out between the offenders and a security vehicle escorting the truck, both guards were shot, one critically.

The attackers used a GPS jammer to make their getaway. The empty truck was located some hours later.  


The second major cargo crime in Spain in May involved a Theft from Facility in Valladolid in the northwest of the country. Thieves targeted high protein wheat that was being stored in a Services 3rd Party Facility. The most surprising aspect of this crime, which was recorded on 13 May, is the fact that the thieves would have operated around 30 truck journeys in order to steal the 900 tonnes of wheat.


On 2 May, in Cambridge in the United Kingdom, offenders forced their way through secured gates in order to drive an HGV into a compound at an Aviation Transportation Facility at Bourn Airport. They emptied the contents of several containers – recorded as Tools & Building Materials – into the HGV before fleeing.

33 losses in May between €50,000 and €100,000

 TAPA’s IIS intelligence also recorded 33 crimes in May within a loss range of €50,000 and €100,000. Aside from single incidents in Germany and Sweden, the rest of these thefts took place in the UK:

·        30 incidents in this loss range involved Theft from Vehicle

·        There were single cases of Theft of Vehicle, Theft, and Theft from Train

·        The IIS product category with most losses was Clothing & Footwear with six thefts

·        Losses were recorded in a total of 10 IIS product categories

The 10 highest value crimes in this loss range in May were:

·        €88,758 – Loss of alcohol in a Theft from Vehicle crime in Kent, UK, on 8 May  

·        €83,540 – A subcontractor who picked up an import container with a cargo of Pharmaceuticals on 8 May parked his truck in Wiesenburg, Bavaria, Germany, and went home.  Returning to the location, he found the truck and its cargo had been stolen   

·        €78,482 – Sportswear and shoes were taken after the curtain side of a truck was cut open at a motorway services in Stone, Staffordshire, in the UK on 16 May

·        €76,492 – Another crime on 8 May, this incident in Kelmarsh, UK, saw a cargo of washing machines stolen from a truck at an unsecured parking location 

·        €75,490 – On 24 May, thieves escaped with Phones after cutting the tarpaulin of a truck in an unsecured parking location in Faversham, Kent, in the UK

·        €74,907 – At Watford Gap motorway services in Northamptonshire, UK, thieves stole Computers/Laptops after cutting the curtain side of a truck on 23 May 

·        €74,164 – In this crime on 11 May, offenders stole alloy car wheels from a truck parked at Rothersthorpe motorway services in Northamptonshire, UK

·        €72,602 –On 25 May, beer was stolen from a vehicle parked in an unsecured parking location in Worksop, Northamptonshire   

·        €67,661 –Thieves took televisions from a truck parked at a Maritime Transportation Facility in Leicestershire, UK, on 9 May €65,981 – Another crime at a motorway services in Stone in the UK, this time on 11 May, saw the offenders steal footwear after breaking open the rear doors of a parked truck

If you have a cargo crime to report, please contact iis@(*** please remove ***)


REMEMBER: The IIS incident intelligence database does not require you to publish your name or the name of any company or companies that are victims of crime. You will simply be asked to confirm as much detail as possible relating to:

·        The date of the incident

·        Type of incident, i.e. Theft from Vehicle

·        Modus operandi used by the offenders

·        A description of the incident

·        The type/s of product/s stolen

·        Value of the goods

·        A link to a media report on the crime

·        The location of the crime, i.e. Unsecured Parking

·        The town, district and/or region where the crime occurred

·        Country

·        GPS coordinates

Using TAPA’s IIS reporting tool is quick and easy. Learn more by watching our IIS Explainer Video

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