MPs call for more po­lice fund­ing as thefts of clas­sic cars hit 30 cases in a month

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - THIS WEEK - David Simis­ter

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.

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