188 new cargo theft incidents were recorded by TAPA in the EMEA region in June with a loss value exceeding €7.9m.


Cargo crimes in the EMEA region reported to TAPA’s Incident Information Service (IIS) fell marginally year-on-year to 188 in June, compared to 190 a year ago.

The total loss for the 110 or 58.5% of incidents recording a value was €7,937,075, producing an average loss for the month of €72,155. TAPA’s IIS gained intelligence on freight thefts in 11 countries in the region, including six crimes with loss values of more than €100,000.

In the cases of the top two crimes by value last month, both resulted in the successful recovery of goods valued at nearly €4 million and the arrests of suspects in South Africa and Spain:


Officers from Johannesburg’s Metropolitan Police Department investigating a truck hijacking and the loss of electronics goods worth over €3.4m responded to a tracker signal on 24 June and traced the stolen vehicle to a location in the centre of the city. As well as recovering the cargo of smart TVs, police also arrested two suspects and found GPS signal jamming devices.  


On 6 June, a truck was hijacked shortly after leaving a warehouse in Valladolid, northwest Spain, with a cargo of car engines. National Police officers later found the vehicle and 138 engines in a warehouse in Borox, Toledo. The owner of the facility was among four suspects arrested at the premises. According to media reports, police believe the gang had been involved in a number of previous truck and trailer thefts.

The four other major cargo thefts in June occurred in the United Kingdom:

·       €276,414 – On 21 June, another cargo of televisions was stolen when thieves cut a hole in the curtain side of a parked and attended truck that had stopped in an unsecured layby in Worksop, Northamptonshire 

·       €135,386 – Televisions were the target again on 26 June in another attack in the East Midlands. In this incident, the offenders forced the rear door locks and seals of a truck and semi-trailer in Coddington, Nottinghamshire 

·       €111,494 – Another curtain cutting crime at an unsecured parking location, this incident on 6 June took place near Coventry, West Midlands, and saw thieves steal a shipment of power drills

·       €110,565 – Watford Gap MSA in Northamptonshire was the scene of this crime on 20 June after thieves cut the tarpaulin of a parked and attended trailer and stole its cargo of gin.

UK Motorway Service Areas remain a hotspot

Following the special report in last month’s Vigilant concerning the rise in cargo thefts at UK Motorway Service Areas, June 2017 data shows more than 40 newly-recorded incidents in these types of unsecured parking locations. One report on 7 June stated that a member of the public alerted police to an incident in progress at around 01.00hrs at Membury Services, not far from Hungerford in Berkshire. The offenders escaped in a white Mercedes Sprinter van after the witness used his car horn to raise the alarm. They still escaped, however, with wine valued at €80,775. The offenders’ van was later identified as a stolen vehicle.  

The IIS team also recorded a number of reports at UK MSAs in which the curtain sides of trucks were cut open but no cargo was stolen.    

28 losses of between €50,000 and €100,000 produced a total loss of €1,776,645

TAPA EMEA’s Incident Information Service received a total of 28 reports of cargo crimes with a loss range of between €50,000 and €100,000 last month. These thefts had a combined value of €1,776,645.

Crimes in this category also included:

·       €94,429 – The theft of car parts from a truck that had stopped in an unsecured parking location on an industrial estate  in Daventry, UK, on 7 June  

·       €88,776 – A Theft from Vehicle crime in Northamptonshire, UK, on 26 June and the loss of a cargo of power drills

·       €88,740 – Another Theft from Vehicle at a UK Motorway Services saw thieves steal mobile phone kits from a truck at Watford Gap MSA in Northamptonshire, UK, on 9 June

·       €76,225 – 31 pallets of clothing stolen from a truck in an unsecured layby in Milton Keynes, UK, on 6 June

·       €71,656 – Robotic movers were taken from a truck on 15 June in Ulricehamn in the Swedish province of Västra Götaland

·       €70,000 – A Truck Theft from an unsecured parking site in Hamm, a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, on 19 June

·       €63,711 – Another Theft from Vehicle crime in the UK East Midlands, this incident on 8 June involved the loss of a shipment of alcohol in Northampton

·       €62,685 – The loss of a shipment of wine from a truck in an unsecured parking place on an industrial estate in Maidstone, Kent, UK.

Other products targeted in incidents with five-figure losses included:

  • Cosmetics
  • Bicycle carriers
  • Wire cable
  • Washing powder
  • Plumbing materials
  • Mountain boots
  • Frozen fish
  • Coffee products
  • Tobacco
  • Toothpaste and mouthwash
  • Steering wheels
  • Chewing gum
  • Pressure washers
  • Crisps
  • Camping equipment
  • Cleaning products

Violent attacks recorded in Germany, South Africa, Sweden and the UK

Recorded crimes in June included 11 cases involving the M.O of Violent or Threat with Violence. These crimes took place in:

·       Hanover in Lower Saxony and Solingen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

·       Kimberley in South Africa’s Northern Cape as well as in both Emalahleni and Thulamahashe in the country’s Mpumalanga province

·       Strömstad in Sweden’s Västra Götaland County

·       And in four locations in the UK; Purfleet (the scene of two violent incidents), Toddington MSA in Befordshire, and Rutland and Northamptonshire in the East Midlands

Four cases involving Deception reported in South Africa

Four cases involving Deception were also reported to the Association over the course of the month, all in South Africa:

·       Two incidents four days apart in Pretoria followed a similar M.O; a passenger in a passing car indicated to a truck driver that there was something wrong with the back of their HGV. When the drivers stopped to investigate, they were forced into the offenders’ cars and their trucks stolen. The drivers were later released at different locations

·       On 22 June, a truck driver was stopped by the driver of a white Toyota. Stating he was a police official, he asked the driver for his driving licence before saying the truck’s brake lights were not working. As they went to the back of the vehicle, a second offender armed with a gun, and two other suspects, tied up the driver and pushed him into the back of the vehicle. He was later left close to a nearby industrial estate.

·       On 4 June, this time at Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport, eight offenders dressed in high visibility jackets and security uniforms entered the airport perimeter and instructed staff in one of the facilities to wait in a secluded part of the warehouse. The offenders then escaped with three shipments of mobile phones and tablets.

TAPA’s IIS also recorded one incident involving Theft from a Moving Vehicle. This took place while the truck was en route in Västra Götaland County in Sweden on 25 June and resulted in the loss of three pallets of computer products.

Amidst all of the recent reports of migrants trying to stop and board trucks in the area close to the port of Calais, in June TAPA was notified of a similar incident in Waremme in the Belgian province of Liège.

Police data sharing support means no change in the top 3 countries

Of the 11 countries recording cargo crimes in TAPA EMEA’s IIS database last month, the UK, the Netherlands and Sweden retained their now familiar ‘top 3’ positions due to the level of data sharing by TAPA’s law enforcement agency partners in those countries. The three countries recorded 108, 36 and 19 freight theft incidents in June respectively, accounting for 86.8% of the monthly total.

Nine incidents were also reported in both Germany and South Africa.

Losses reported in 14 TAPA IIS product categories

Over half of the products targeted by criminals in June were reported as either unspecified or miscellaneous, and there were 12 crimes involving the thefts of a truck and/or trailer but no load. Of the remaining 14 IIS product categories only three recorded 10 or more thefts:

·       Food & Drink – 20 incidents, 10.7% of the June total

·       Cosmetics & Hygiene – 12 or 6.4%

·       Clothing & Footwear – 10 or 5.3%

Trucks were targeted in all but three of the 188 crimes in June, with Theft from Vehicle dominating the types of attacks once again, accounting for 145 or 77.2% of the total for last month. This was virtually on a par with the most frequent type of location – Unsecured Parking – which was recorded for 140 or 74.5% of incidents reported in June.