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UK Parcel Theft Hotspots

Police data reveals the worst areas for parcel theft this Christmas

Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Sending presents in the mail is common year-round, but the increased number of parcels sent in the run-up to Christmas makes the chance of yours going missing much higher. The festive season is a stressful time of year without having the additional worry of whether or not your package will arrive safely.

This year, uncertainty surrounding Covid-19 restrictions means that more parcels than ever are likely to be sent from afar as opposed to being gifted face-to-face.

UK Parcel Theft HotspotsTo help you decide on the best gift-delivery method this year, the team here at PACK & SEND have collated the Police data on parcel theft in 39 UK areas over the last two years, showing you the places most and least likely to safely receive their parcels.

The Thames Valley Police, who cover over 2,200 square miles stretched across Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire, topped the danger table. They reported the most parcel thefts per capita across 2018 and 2019, experiencing on average 31 thefts per 100,000 people (705 in total):

UK Worst Parcel Theft Areas

Suffolk Constabulary placed 2nd, reporting 26 parcel thefts per 100,000 people (188 in total), whilst Essex Police reported 25 thefts per capita (433 in total), putting them in 3rd place.

Kent Police and Hertfordshire Constabulary made up the rest of the top 5 most dangerous areas for parcels this Christmas.

If you’re posting something to these areas, tracking the delivery and ensuring that the person on the receiving end is actually in to receive the package is probably your safest bet.

Looking at the areas most likely to receive their parcels, the Police Service of Northern Ireland reported only 21 parcel thefts in 2018 and 2019 combined. This works out as 1 theft per 100,000 people, meaning Northern Ireland is the safest place in the UK for parcels:

UK Safest Areas for Parcel Delivery

Cleveland Police, located in the North East of England, placed 2nd for parcel safety. They reported 7 parcel thefts in total over 2018 and 2019, and due to the population in their area this also works out at 1 parcel theft for every 100,000 people. Third place went to the Gloucestershire Constabulary who reported 10 parcel thefts, working out at 2 per capita.

Durham Constabulary and Northumberland Police make up the top 5 areas most likely to receive their parcels safely this Christmas.

In total, over 6,000 parcels were reported stolen in the UK during 2018 and 2019. This averages at 8 parcels per day, but with the increased number of deliveries during the Christmas period, you can assume that there’s a much higher risk of something going wrong.

In 2016, Royal Mail delivered 130 million parcels in the month of December alone. Increased ecommerce sales over recent years and the building restrictions around Covid-19 means that the number of parcel deliveries is likely to be much higher than this in December 2020.

The cost of parcels going missing adds up, whether as a result of theft or any other means. In 2018/19, Royal Mail spent almost £10 million on customer compensation, over half of which was due to parcel loss. Other common causes for complaint were P739 failure (the ‘sorry we missed you’ cards) and delays to delivery.

Mike Ryan, UK CEO at PACK & SEND commented on the findings:

“The process of delivering gifts wouldn’t be possible without a good packing and delivery service. We take pride in safely packing our deliveries, and always aim to get a signature upon final delivery to avoid leaving packages unattended. This research has highlighted the need for safe and secure delivery, especially during the festive season.”

View the full findings in the table below:

UK Parcel Theft Details


45 police forces were contacted for information. 41 of these provided data outlining the number of parcel thefts reported in 2018 and 2019.

This data was used to work out the number of parcel thefts per capita (per 100,000 people) in each police area, using the latest population data available.

Ofcom published online the 2018/19 data for the number of complaints issued to Royal Mail, and the amount of financial compensation paid out.


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