THE devices look simple enough – one is called a Legend and is a rectangular plastic box, the other is a Turbo Decoder and looks like a simple enough key.
But both were used in a six-figure racket that saw dozens of stolen 4x4 vehicles brought to a breakers’ yard in the Forest of Dean.
The decoder gets the thief into the car while the Legend plugs into the vehicle’s diagnostic system and allows the user to start the engine.
Both items can be bought online legally for a combined total of £700.
“The technology they are using, we are aware of it. The way the thieves use it, we are aware of it – we know what is happening, but the art is stopping it,” said Detective Sergeant Harry Limer, who led the Gloucestershire Police investigation.
The operation targeted the ‘chop shop’ in Sling where officers discovered that more than £800,000 of stolen vehicles had entered the breakers’ yard in just seven months.
The vehicles were mainly stolen from the front driveways of homes in suburban areas of London, Northampton and Leicester before being driven to the secluded yard for resale or dismantling for parts.
Four men behind the operation for 18 of the vehicles, worth up to £500,000, were yesterday jailed for a combined total of 14 years. Another man received a suspended sentence.
Det Sgt Limer said: “Technology is