Police officers are appealing for witnesses after £5m of Apple products were stolen from a lorry during a robbery on the M1 motorway in Northamptonshire.

The raid happened on the southbound slip road at Junction 18 of the M1, between 7.45pm and 8pm last Tuesday (November 10). Police said the lorry driver and the security guard, who was travelling in a second vehicle, were “targeted and tied up”.

The lorry was then driven to Eldon Close in Crick, where the offenders transferred the trailer on to a waiting truck, and drove off leaving the lorry driver and security guard behind.

The truck was later found across the county border in Lutterworth, Leicestershire, where police believe the thieves transferred the 48 pallets of Apple products into a third vehicle.

The police have not identified the logistics company that was delivering the consignment.

A police spokesman said the stolen consignment included iPhone 11s, AirPods, Apple Watches, a variety of iPads and charging devices.

Northamptonshire police are appealing to anyone who may have seen a number of vehicles on the slip road at Junction 18 around the time of the raid, or anything that may have looked out of place. Police are also asking drivers to check dash cam footage.

They would also like to speak to anyone who may have been offered any Apple products for sale in unusual circumstances, or who knows of anyone who is selling such items at low-cost prices.

Tom Cotton, RHA head of licensing and infrastructure policy, told motortransport.co.uk: "Physical violence against a driver is totally unacceptable and needs to be fully investigated. Clearly, this is an organised crime. With that many pallets there needs to be a distribution and dispersal network in its own right and we fully support National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Police Service (NaVCIS) in the investigation and subsequent prosecution of these criminals."

A NaVCIS spokesperson told motortransport.co.uk: "Cargo theft is an ongoing problem on the UK’s roads. NaVCIS has received 3,661 notifications of all types of HGV, freight and cargo crimes in the UK so far this year.

"It estimates that the combined cost price loss value from those thefts in 2020 is currently around £81.7m.

"NaVCIS figures show over 1,200 of the total number of incidents involved curtainsiders being slashed open, whilst 537 involved the breaching or cutting of trailer seals and padlocks.

"Nor should HGV drivers drop their guard at motorway service areas (MSAs). According to NaVCIS figures, there have been 797 incidents at MSAs so far this year– which equates to 22% of offences."

Anyone with information or who may have witnessed this incident is asked to call Northamptonshire Police on 101 quoting reference number 20000595599. Or alternatively, if callers wish to remain anonymous they can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.