Arrests in car crime crackdown
A MAJOR crackdown on the epidemic of car crime in the West Midlands has led to police making almost 600 arrests in a matter of weeks.
The figures have been released after the Birmingham Mail revealed carjackers and thieves stealing to order made as little as £ 200 per vehicle.
David Jamieson, the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, has led a campaign to reduce rates of motor theft after they hit a three- year high.
The arrests by West Midlands Police are part of Operation Cantil, predominantly enforced by the Roads Policing team, to tackle organised vehicle crime and car key burglary.
“We have seen, over the past three years, car thefts almost triple in the West Midlands,” said Commissioner Jamieson. “The tough action West Midlands Police has been taking has resulted in 590 arrests in just a matter of weeks.
“Car theft has become an epidemic in the West Midlands. There are organised criminals who are taking advantage of the lack of security in vehicles and the ease of accessibility to purchase written- off cars which are fuelling so called ‘ chop shops’.
“Some of these ‘ chop shops’ are making millions of pounds each year.
“I look forward to seeing more arrests and more action in the coming months to tackle this problem.”
Carjackers and thieves hacking security systems or stealing keys are being paid as little as £ 200 for the high- end vehicles they are stealing.
Organised crime gangs making millions of pounds are then ‘ chopping up’ and selling on the cars, which are stolen by thieves as young as 15.
Some have been ‘ stolen to order’, with brands such as Audi, BMW and Ford being most commonly targeted. The police fightback also includes efforts to break up ‘ chop shops’, the name given to illicit garages in back streets or industrial estates that use spares to fix write offs that are then sold on through eBay, Gumtree, Autotrader or other sites.