ONE CLASSIC A DAY STOLEN
MPs call for more police funding as thefts of classic cars hit 30 cases in a month
Classic car theft is now getting so rife that one a day is now being stolen on average – and an influential group of MPs says that police forces are too overstretched to deal with the problem.
New figures compiled by the International Association of Auto Theft Investigators (IAATI) show that 30 classics were taken across the United Kingdom over a onemonth period, with fast Fords, Minis and Volkswagens among the criminals’ top picks.
Ken German, spokesman for the IAATI, said: ‘Classic car and bike theft is clearly getting worse and owners must be worrying when, rather than if, theirs will go missing. It’s now becoming an epidemic.’
Recent thefts that have taken place include a spate of fast Fords being taken in Essex and North London, an Opel Manta taken in
West Bromwich, and a Jaguar E-type that was removed from a lock-up garage in Staffordshire and captured on CCTV being towed away by a white van. The IAATI said that while there was no evidence of specific vehicles or areas being targeted, it did believe that the historic vehicles affected were, in most cases, being taken by organised criminal groups.
The figures come at the same time as a damning indictment of police forces’ ability to tackle vehiclerelated crime from the Home Affairs Select Committee, which said that forces need additional funding to deal with the problem. The group said in its latest report that while police were doing a ‘remarkable and immensely valuable public service’ it argued that forces were badly overstretched, and that the number of arrests and charges is falling.
The committee said in its report: ‘Many “volume crimes”, including vehicle-related theft, have been increasing sharply after a long period of decline. Without additional funding for policing, we have no doubt that there will be dire consequences for public safety, criminal justice, community cohesion and public confidence.
‘ We strongly recommend that police funding is prioritised in the autumn Budget and the next comprehensive spending review. The current police funding model is not fit for purpose: it is time to stop kicking the problem into the long grass, and recognise the true cost of policing.’
Volkswagen camper vans are proving particularly popular with classic car thieves, with four being taken in the space of a month.