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OEGSTEEST, the Netherlands: The Transported Asset Protection Association (TAPA) says the UK and the Netherlands had the highest levels of reported crime in its Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region during the first quarter of 2015.

TAPA's Incident Information Service (IIS) data indicates the two countries accounted for over 67 percent of the 206 reported or attempted freight thefts for the period. With 18 incidents valued at over €100,000 and a total of €13.25 million in three months, the average loss per event was €210,365.

The UK recorded 70 cargo crimes in Q1 2015, a 133 percent rise over the same period in 2014 while the Netherlands saw a 17 percent increase year-on-year with 69 incidents.

TAPAThorsten Neumann, chairman of TAPA EMEA said: "We are well aware that the level of cargo crime in the EMEA region and, indeed, globally is massively under-reported. Whilst highlighting the UK and the Netherlands as hotspots for incidents, what this latest data for Q1 demonstrates more than anything is the growing importance our police partners in these countries are giving to tackling the problem of cargo crime. By collecting and sharing intelligence, they are setting an example we hope other law enforcement agencies in our region will follow."

TAPA says it continues to work with the European Commission, national governments and police organizations including INTERPOL, Europol and TISPOL to gather information on increasingly violent crimes in 14 countries.

In Q1, Germany reported 20 cargo crimes to TAPA followed by Spain with 10, Italy with nine and France and South Africa with eight incidents each. Germany had the most crimes where the single event loss value exceeded €100,000.

The biggest single theft in the quarter took place in March when a gang of 15 robbers stole gems and artwork worth €9 million after holding up two armoured vans at a motorway toll in Burgundy, some 125 miles southeast of Paris. They used a mechanical digger to smash a hole in the vehicles before leaving them in a nearby field near Auxerre (right - picture courtesy BBC).

TAPA reports clothing, footwear and consumer electronics accounted for 15.5 percent of Q1 thefts followed by tobacco products, food and alcohol. The association says transport-related crime continues to dominate reported incidents with 89 vehicle thefts or 43.2 percent of the period total, followed by thefts from vehicles a further 39.3 percent and hijackings at 8.25 percent.

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