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Essex Police recovers £1 million worth of stolen cars and parts

Police in Essex have reported that they recently recovered £1 million worth of cars and parts in a single week.

The Stolen Vehicle Intelligence Unit, which is dedicated to returning stolen vehicles to their rightful owners and vehicle examination, identified a haul of numerous complete stolen vehicles and the remains of others known to be stolen.

The unit recovered high-end cars including a Rolls Royce, a Bentley Bentayga, alongside several Range Rovers and BMWs.

In recent months they have also located and recovered a range of Ferraris and Aston Martins, as well as a Rolls Royce Cullinan worth more than £360,000 alone.

The seizures take the unit’s total value of vehicles recovered throughout 2023 to a reported £12 million.

One of the cars seized during the week by the unit (Photo: Essex Police)

Essex Police said that its Stolen Vehicle Intelligence Unit has already this year dismantled 15 ‘chop shops’, where stolen cars are stripped of their parts.

This year the unit has also intercepted almost 50 shipping containers – all full of stolen vehicles and parts – destined to leave the country.

The Stolen Vehicle Intelligence Unit is said to have recovered or identified a record 626 stolen vehicles or parts of stolen vehicles in 2022 – a 30 per cent increase on 2021.

Once a car is taken, thieves may look to quickly sell it on – even for way under the market value – strip it for parts, or ship either the whole car or parts of the car to areas including the Middle East and Africa.

There, the vehicles can be sold for two or three times more than they would cost in the UK and the parts market is vast in these distant countries.

Thieves or handlers of the stolen vehicles may also obtain false or cloned identities, then sell the vehicles on to unsuspecting members of the public in the UK or distribute them to other criminals.

Photo: Essex Police

PC Paul Gerrish from the specialist unit said: “Every year, we track down more stolen vehicles and as we do, we build up a bigger and better intelligence picture.

“Our work is dedicated to the disruption of organised criminal gangs and we make sure car thieves are never comfortable in Essex. We aim to make this a hostile county for car thieves to operate in.

“Our work stretches beyond recovering individual stolen cars and encompasses the wider network of criminality behind each theft.”