Almost 70% of reported cargo losses across Europe and the Middle East in September occurred in the UK, according to the Transported Asset Protection Association.

The figures are revealed in TAPA’s latest survey of cargo losses across 11 European and Middle Eastern countries.

Whilst TAPA acknowledged that some of the other countries in the survey may not be as vigilant in recording cargo losses, it said the figures reveal a serious problem with cargo thefts in the UK. This it added, is costing hauliers and their clients millions of pounds a year.

Of the 165 new losses recorded in September, 114 took place in the UK, accounting for 69.1% of the monthly total, according to TAPA. This compares to Germany which recorded 23 incidents in the same period.

TAPA said that year-on-year the value of cargo losses across the 11 countries rose nearly 16% to £6.19m, with the average loss value for September 2017 standing at £47,900.

The most valuable cargo losses in the UK in September included the theft of trainers worth over £235,000 from a truck parked at Raunds in Northamptonshire; mobile phones valued at over £230,000, stolen from a moving truck en route from Leicestershire to the West Midlands; and the theft of a tractor unit and a semi-trailer loaded with wines and spirits valued at more than £210,000 from a secured transport yard in Burnham-on-Sea in Somerset.

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Nine of a further 16 thefts with a value of between £50,000 and £100,000 occurred in the UK. This included the loss of nearly £70,000 of electrical goods at the Toddington Motorway Service Area in Bedfordshire on 6 September when thieves cut the curtain sides of a number of targeted trucks.

TAPA said that of the total number of incidents reported across the 11 countries in September, 76.3% occurred when trucks stopped in unsecured parking locations.

Earlier this year TAPA launched a secure parking programme which includes an online parking tool to help members identify TAPA approved parking locations.

TAPA is also offering a new e-learning course with world transport association IRU to help drivers prevent cargo theft, illegal immigration and smuggling.

IRU programme development head Pierre Miranda, said: “We estimate that truck drivers are approximately six-times more likely to get physically assaulted than injured in a road accident.

"Nevertheless the average carrier is much more aware of road safety than security threats. There is a common misconception that security is an issue affecting only companies transporting high-value goods, when it actually affects all types of freight transport.”