TAPA’s Incident Information Service (IIS) database records 158 new cargo crimes in March 2017 in 10 countries in the EMEA region…

Cargo crimes reported to TAPA EMEA’s Incident Information Service (IIS) for March 2017 show the first fall in recorded freight thefts in over a year. IIS was notified of 158 new incidents last month, an 11.2% reduction on the 178 crimes that took place in March 2016.

The total loss for the 80 or 50.6% of reported incidents with a value was €14,876,205. Based on these figures the average loss for crimes in March was €185,952. Only three of the nine countries that recorded losses during the month suffered 10 or more incidents. The UK with 72 and Netherlands with 61 accounted for 84.3% of the total. 13 incidents were reported in Sweden.

TAPA’s IIS database captured data on 10 major incidents with a loss value of more than €100,000, which were dominated by two high value cash-in-transit thefts involving airports in the UK and South Africa. The biggest loss occurred on 14 March when an armoured vehicle that had collected a cargo of cash from Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 4 was found abandoned shortly afterwards, just half a mile away from the airport, and missing €8,108,416 in cash. Two days after the theft, two employees of the security company were arrested on charges of conspiracy to steal.

A week earlier, an even more elaborate plot saw thieves escape with €1,743,861 in cash from a flight that had recently arrived at Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport. The offenders dressed as police officers and used what were reported as ‘police vehicles’ to intercept and steal the cargo.

Vigilant has been asked not to report one of the major cargo crimes reported last month. The remaining seven incidents involved losses of:


Thieves operating in Willenhall, West Midlands in the UK, used a previously stolen tractor unit to steal a semi-trailer from a Services 3rd Party Facility loaded with a shipment of swimming goggles. They reportedly climbed over the gate to the facility before breaking the gate lock, enabling the tractor to enter the yard, and attach the trailer on 13 March.   


Computers/Laptops were the target in this incident on 1 March after criminals cut a hole in the curtain side of a parked and attended vehicle in an unsecured layby on the A45 main road in Raunds, Northamptonshire, UK.


This was the most costly of a series of tyre thefts reported to TAPA EMEA last month. The offenders cut two holes into the curtain side of a truck parked in an unsecured location at Watford Gap Services, Northamptonshire, UK. This crime took place on 22 March.


In this incident on 13 March, thieves dressed as staff members to enter the vehicle storage yard of an Authorised 3rd Party Facility in Telford in the UK West Midlands. They escaped with two HGVs.


A violent Theft from Facility in Kiambu, Kenya, on 3 March which saw the attackers escape with 57 televisions after tying up security guards at a Services 3rd Party Facility.


Another crime involving violence, this time on 6 March in Wednesbury, West Midlands, in the UK. The thieves drilled the back door lock of a trailer at an unsecured parking location before waking and threatening the driver. The incident resulted in the loss of the truck and trailer as well as its cargo of copper and brass rods.  


The remaining major incident recorded last month, on 5 March, involved a Theft from Trailer crime targeting a trailer parked over the weekend at an unsecured location in Malmo, Sweden. The thieves were able to access the trailer via its rear doors and removed the contents of 14 pallets of shoes.     


TAPA EMEA’s IIS team received reports of 31 other cargo thefts incidents last month where the loss value quoted was between €50,000 and €100,000. One of these incidents occurred in South Africa on 16 March when six gunmen forced a truck off the road in the process of stealing Food & Drink products valued at €54,733. All of the other crimes in this value category took place in the UK.

These crimes produced a total loss value of €2,103,752. 17 of the thefts classified the goods stolen as either Miscellaneous or Unspecified. The remaining crimes targeted:

·        Clothing & Footwear – 4 crimes

·        Tyres – 3

·        Computers/Laptops – 2

·        Food & Drink – 2

·        Cosmetics & Hygiene – 1

·        Metal – 1

·        Furniture/Household Appliances – 1

The 10 highest value thefts in this loss range were:

  • €99,848 - A Theft from Vehicle and loss of Tyres on 16 March in Northamptonshire;
  • €92,659 - Theft of audio equipment from a truck in Lincolnshire on 14 March;
  • €90,526 - Computers/Laptops stolen from a vehicle in Essex on 16 March;
  • €87,619 – Theft of unspecified cargo from a vehicle in Northamptonshire on 6 March;
  • €85,329 – Another thefts of Tyres, this time on 2 March in Rugby, Warwickshire;
  • €81,272 – Camping equipment stolen in a Theft from Vehicle crime in Essex;
  • €75,466 – A classic Theft from a Moving Vehicle crime that reportedly involved 4-5 vehicles following an HGV carrying Computers/Laptops on 16 March. One of the vehicles tailgated the truck to allow one of the offenders to climb out of the roof of the SUV to reach the back doors of the trailer and cut its locks. The offender then threw boxes containing the products to accomplices in vehicles behind the truck. The location of the incident is unknown; 
  • €75,439 – Tyres were once again targeted. This crime on 19 March took place in Leicestershire;  
  • €74,937 – Clothing & Footwear taken in a Theft from Vehicle incident in Milton Keynes, Bedfordshire on 7 March; 
  • €73,144 – Wine was stolen on 14 March in Northamptonshire after thieves cut the curtain side of a parked and attended trailer. 

The main products targeted last month

TAPA’s IIS recorded losses in 15 different product categories in addition to the 61 or 38.6% of crimes where the goods stolen were unspecified, the 14 or 8.9% of incidents with products recorded as miscellaneous, and the seven reports of thefts involving no load but where trucks and/or trailers were taken.

The top 5 product categories for losses were:

·        Clothing & Footwear – 11 thefts

·        Computers/Laptops – 10

·        Furniture/Household Appliances – 10

·        Food & Drink – 9

·        Cosmetics & Hygiene – 7

Unsecured Parking still the main cause of losses

Unsecured Parking locations in EMEA, and notably in Europe, continue to be the main ‘hunting ground’ for cargo thieves. There were 114 such incidents in March, 72.2% of the monthly total. Origin Facility with 16 or 10.1% of crimes was the only other type of location to suffer 10 or more losses.

The high risks involved in unsecured parking are also reflected in the most recorded types of incident. Theft from Vehicle and Theft from Trailer were reported in over 84% of crimes, a statistic dominated by the 122 or 77.2% of cases of Theft from Vehicle. Following this pattern, Intrusion was the most recorded modus operandi used by freight thieves last month. It was reported in 115 or 72.7% of the 158 new cargo crimes in March.