The Shocking Amount Of Supply Chain Theft In The UK And 3 Easy Ways To Stop It

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Supply chain theft is a common occurrence in many countries around the world, but in 2020, the UK topped Europe’s list. Higher numbers than ever are being recorded for thefts across the supply chain, and that’s without the majority of crimes which go unreported. Why is this happening though and how can you stop it from happening to your business?


How High Are Supply Chain Theft Levels in the UK?

The last recorded data that we have from 2020 shows that overall thefts in Europe are up, but that the UK suffer from the problem far worse than any other nation. In fact, just over 50% of all European supply chain thefts occurred in the UK alone! The UK also reported the highest number of major cargo losses, taking up 63.6% of Europe’s thefts over €100,000.


Why It’s So High At The Moment

Unfortunately, due to the nature of the pandemic, opportunity has increased for cargo theft and new illegal markets opened up for criminals. The widespread need and use of PPE gear and hygiene products meant that black market demand for selling stolen equipment cheaply spiked, creating incentive for more theft. Hundreds of thousands of face masks, gloves, and over 50,000 medical suits were reported stolen. With more people ordering products online from overseas, there’s also more valuable cargo on the move – a prime target for criminals.

With high numbers of cases in key sectors in the UK throughout 2020, many staff members working in the logistics industry were unable to work as a result of infection or coming into contact with somebody. Lower levels of staff have further enabled the spike in thefts as cargo is an easier target that’s now often under less attention than it once was.


3 Ways You Can Stop It Happening To You

1. Risk Assessment

Understanding vulnerable spots in your supply chain will help you to identify potential threats and in turn, prevent them before they happen. Consider every point at which cargo is sat still or left unattended and plan measures that protect these weaknesses. When drivers are sleeping or taking a rest, when cargo is left in containers at port, when cargo is sat in your warehouse, when cargo is being loaded or left in trailers during the dark hours of the night and early morning.


2. Know What You’re Up Against And Plan For It


Gone are the days that thefts involve violently holding up truck drivers or hijacking cargo carriers. Now, criminals are using complex tactics to deceive your business and take your cargo without you even realising it. Professionals will stake out your business, establish weak points and the most vulnerable times to make the process as risk free for themselves. Tactics such as forging loading and shipping documents, impersonating drivers, and GPS tracking jammers are common methods that criminals now use to steal cargo.

Carrying out robust checks on all transport companies, drivers, and documents will help you to prevent an imposter from taking cargo straight off your site. Installing multiple tracking technologies in various parts of trucks and cargo can help avoid all communication being lost.


3. Security Systems

The main points at which cargo is often stolen are those where its sat still – in warehouses and at shipping ports. Implementing effective security measures in these facilities will deter criminals and provide you with hard evidence of any theft in the unlikely event that it does still occur.

CCTV systems, access control, and layered security systems are strong deterrents that make it extremely hard for unauthorised members to breach your site. They’ll also make it harder for criminals to actually access any stock or cargo, even if they manage to come onsite.



Whilst there has been a recent spike in supply chain theft, especially in the UK, there are ways that your business can prevent it if given enough thought, planning, and action. Advanced security systems are effective deterrents that will save your business money in the long run. Carrying out regular risk assessments and establishing what your main threats are will help you to create a strong prevention plan and keep criminal activity out of your supply chain.

If you’d like support with security measures that can keep your facility safe around the clock, get in touch with our team today.