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5th May 2015 - News Articles

NaVCIS: Joint police operation recovers stolen vehicles and brings offenders to justice

A nationwide multi-agency police operation has disrupted criminal groups as part of an initiative to prevent stolen vehicles being exported through ports from the UK.

Hosted by The National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (NaVCIS), Operation BRITCAR involved the cooperation of members of the Interpol Vehicle Crime Task Force, Europol, The National Crime Agency, United Kingdom Border Force, ACRO Criminal Records Office, The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) and Trading Standards. UK Police Forces supporting the operation were Essex, Metropolitan, Hampshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Port of Dover.

Operation BRITCAR led to the recovery of stolen vehicles, two caravans and a ride on lawnmower. At the Port of Felixstowe, 13 containers were searched, one was found to be concealing nine stolen motorcycles that were bound for Africa and a further container held four suspected stolen superbikes.

The operation also identified numerous traffic violations for which a significant number of drivers were fined or had their vehicles seized. In some instances, drivers were arrested or given cautions for offences which included possession of a CS spray and a meat cleaver.

Since the beginning of the year, over 16,000 vehicles have been reported stolen across the UK, many of which are suspected to have been shipped in containers through ports in the south of England by organised criminal groups destined for southern Europe and Africa.

Operation BRITCAR, active over a five day period at the end of April 2015, saw law enforcement teams from across Europe deployed at ports in Dover, Southampton and Felixstowe and also on the motorway network on approach routes to ports of Tilbury and Portsmouth. Officers escorted vehicles from the road network to a safe location to speak with the drivers and examine the vehicles.

The operation resulted in the recovery of a stolen BMW and Mitsubishi L200 pickup truck, a stolen ride on lawnmower destined for eastern Europe, plus a suspected stolen trailer and two caravans, one of which had only been reported stolen 45 minutes before it was located and recovered.

Other offences identified included an HGV and trailer, which were two tons over their permissible weight, a vehicle displaying false foreign registration plates, a vehicle without a valid MOT certificate, a van with no insurance and a vehicle with a mechanical defect, which the DVSA deemed un-roadworthy. Several drivers were found to be working over their permitted hours and one was found to be disqualified from driving. At one site alone, fines totalling £2300 were issued.

NaVCIS spokesperson Detective Inspector Wayne Cooke said:

“Operation BRIT-CAR has been extremely successful in not only supporting the detection and recovery of stolen vehicles at locations across the UK, but also in building effective working relationships with a number of foreign law enforcement colleagues working alongside us. A vehicle towing a stolen caravan was recovered 40 minutes after it had been reported to authorities reflecting the commitment of law enforcement to take positive action to tackle vehicle crime. This operation will help develop further intelligence in relation to harm caused by vehicle crime, disrupting and apprehending the criminals responsible.”

Glyn Lewis, Director of Specialized Crime and Analysis at INTERPOL added:

“Joint actions such as Operation BRITCAR are amongst the most effective ways to combat the organized criminal groups behind the trafficking of stolen vehicles, a crime which transcends national borders.”


Notes to editors:

  • The National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (NaVCIS), based in Ryton-on-Dunsmore, Coventry, at is at the heart of national vehicle crime and is steadily growing its footprint in both the public and private sectors. Its specially trained officers run their own operations and disseminate key data, intelligence and advice to police forces, industry, government, partners, public and foreign enforcement agencies.
  • For further information and photographs of Operation BRITCAR please contact the Communications Team on 02380 744635 or email communications@acro.pnn.police.uk

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