INTERNATIONAL THIEVES TARGET CLASSICS IN UK
Foreign gangs behind big rise in Land Rovers, Fords and Minis stolen to order from Britain
Statistics released by police show that an off-road vehicle crimewave has hit the UK – at least 120 classic Land Rovers have been stolen this year. This follows police warnings to owners of classic Fords and Minis which have also been targeted by thieves. An automotive crime expert told
CCW that the rise in thefts is the result of foreign gangs. Former chief of the Metropolitan Police Stolen Vehicle Squad Dr Ken German explains the recent Land Rover thefts: ‘It’s organised crime. Gangs stealing classic off-roaders to order are targeting Britain, and in many instances they work with British criminals to ship them overseas.’ Like Minis and Fords, it is the Land Rover’s popularity and lack of security that makes them tempting.
Statistics released by police show that an off-road vehicle crimewave has hit the UK – at least 120 classic Land Rovers have been stolen this year.
And it’s not just small time British crooks who are cashing in, according to former Stolen Vehicle Squad boss Dr Ken German. Now working for the International Association of Auto Theft Investigators (IAATI), the organisation for professionals involved in the prevention and detection of vehicle crime, Dr German says many of the thefts are being orchestrated by international criminals.
He says: ‘At least 120 Land Rovers have been stolen in the space of 12 months. It’s organised crime. Gangs stealing classic off-roaders to order are targeting Britain, and in many instances they work with British criminals to ship them overseas.’
The Land Rover’s popularity overseas and lack of security features have always made them prime targets. But – like classic Fords and Minis – their rising values have made them even more vulnerable.
However, Dr German believes the Land Rover theft bubble could burst. ‘Soon, they’ll become too hot, too hard to steal and get away with,’ he says. ‘But for now, people need to remain vigilant.’
Owners are already on the alert in the north of England after Humberside police revealed that 15 of the off-roaders had been stolen since 1 November 2015 in the region. North Yorkshire police also raised concerns about criminal gangs after a report revealed a 69 percent rise in thefts from 2014 to 2015 in the North East.
According to insurer NFU, Land Rover (including Series models and Defenders) thefts across the UK cost £1.8m throughout 2015. The North East topped the figures – with the region claiming £760,000 worth of thefts in 2015.
Mike Goodbun, editor of CCW’s sister magazine Land Rover Owner International, says: ‘It’s depressingly normal, sadly. Land Rovers are targeted because they are so easy to steal. Lots of people are now making big business out of this because the Defender has stopped production. Even newer cars have very few security features. The new Series I Reborn cars aren’t security laden either but I can’t imagine many of them will be stolen, because they’ll be tucked away in secure garages.’ Murray Scullion Contact the Police on 101 or crimestoppers on 0800 555 111