Five Range Rovers and hundreds of vehicle parts seized at Port of Felixstowe through major police operation with 84 people arrested
- Credit: Archant
Officers have seized five Range Rovers and hundreds of vehicle parts at the Port of Felixstowe through a major police operation which resulted in 84 people being arrested.
In a joint intelligence-led operation with ACPO Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (AVCIS) and the Metropolitan Police Service, seven containers filled with cars and vehicle parts believed stolen were examined.
The vehicles, from Surrey, South Woodford and Islington, were found in containers destined for Kenya.
Hundreds of vehicle parts including engines were also found in the containers destined for Cyrpus.
It is believed that the parts – some of which appear to belong to 12 BMW’s reported as stolen from east London – would have been further exported to other countries to be sold.
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No arrests have been made in relation to the containers at this stage. Enquiries and searches are ongoing.
Detective Chief Superintendent Carl Bussey, lead for Operation Endeavour, said: “We began opening the containers on Tuesday. “They are so jammed with cars and vehicle parts that we are still extracting the contents.
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“In one container, bikes, also believed stolen, were packed around vehicle parts to disguise the true contents of the container from any inspectors.”
The Metropolitan Police Service led Operation Endeavour in response to a rise in car thefts.
Detective Inspector Wayne Cooke, of AVCIS, said: “AVCIS has been supporting our Metropolitan Police Service colleagues with our ports intelligence unit staff identifying opportunities for examining and recovering vehicles and vehicle parts stolen through keyless methods.
“As part of this campaign we have successfully disrupted a number of high value vehicles heading to overseas countries.
“Recovering vehicles such as these in Operation Endeavour offers opportunities for further investigation with particular emphasis in tackling organised crime groups involved in vehicle criminality.
“This sends the clearest message to criminals that agencies are working together to tackle keyless offending and put the fear of crime back onto the criminal.”
Officers arrested 84 people, including 16 on suspicion of motor vehicle theft, during a week of coordinated activity to tackle keyless vehicle theft.
Around 800 officers from The Met, Kent, Essex, Hampshire, Surrey and Thames Valley Police forces stopped suspicious vehicles on major roads yesterday.
More than 220 vehicles were seized for two of which were believed stolen.
Officers believe organised criminals are increasingly stealing keyless vehicles using a device which bypasses the vehicle’s electronics, allowing them to drive them away without the owner’s key.
This week, officers across London have been raising awareness of keyless vehicle theft to drivers, issuing 30,000 flyers featuring advice on how to avoid being a victim of this crime.
This followed a morning of local operations to stop and check that vehicles were licensed and being driven by their legitimate owners, and ongoing work by the Territorial Support Group to trace wanted vehicle thieves.
Sixteen people in total were arrested for theft of motor vehicle.
A further 68 people were arrested for offences including possession of offensive weapons, burglary, money laundering and driving while disqualified.