Top of the range cars stolen from Port

TOP-of-the-range stolen cars worth more than half a million pounds have been found in containers at the Port of Felixstowe in the past year, it was revealed today.

TOP-of-the-range stolen cars worth more than half a million pounds have been found in containers at the Port of Felixstowe in the past year, it was revealed today.

The luxury cars, thought to be stolen to order, were being smuggled out of the country when they were found by police, customs officers and port police.

Containers are x-rayed, while officers also work on intelligence gathering and background checks to keep an eye on suspicious shipments. Tracker devices on cars have also helped the investigations.

The work of the teams at the port, including special branch officers, are set to be featured on Tonight with Trevor McDonald on ITV on March 19.

Crews recently filmed at the port, following an operation involving several police forces and different departments to track a stolen car as the thieves tried to illegally export it.

A Suffolk police spokesman said 20 stolen vehicles worth more than £500,000 had been recovered in the last 12 months thanks to teamwork from different agencies.

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He said: “High-tech equipment is used to x-ray containers and other methods, such as intelligence gathering and background checks are used by police, customs and port officials to locate the vehicles before they are illegally exported abroad.”

Experts believe Britain is at the centre of a £2 billion worldwide scam involving high-performance cars and the Suffolk police operations unit at Felixstowe is on constant alert for stolen vehicles being shipped in containers.

As Britain's largest container port Felixstowe is believed to be the main export point for stolen cars but finding them among the three million boxes handled at the port each year is like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Many are smuggled to Russia or the Middle East where there is a thriving trade in selling cars stolen in England. Every year 400,000 cars are stolen and it is thought a quarter of them end up abroad.

Today a company called bluecycle which salvages vehicles found at the port by selling them over the internet is presenting special branch police at the port with a new Ford Galaxy to help them in their work.

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