Three people have been arrested and parts from a dozen stolen cars have been recovered following raids on suspected chop shops in Birmingham.
Information from a member of the public, whose car had recently been stolen, led officers to locations in St Margaret’s Road, Ward End, Hob Moor Road, Small Heath and Beach Road, Sparkhill.
Officers forced their way into garages at the sites, where hundreds of car parts were found.
So far, they have been identified as belonging to 12 stolen vehicles, worth roughly £270,000.
The suspects, who are all from Birmingham and are aged 44, 29 and 18, were arrested on suspicion of theft of motor vehicles and have been released while investigations continue.
Last summer, West Midlands Police launched its ‘Shop a Chop Shop’ campaign, urging members of the public to report garages or units they believe could be taking stolen vehicles and stripping them down for spare parts.
A West Midlands Police spokesman said: “Information can be provided to us via live chat on our website between 8am and midnight.
“Alternatively, call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”
More than a dozen suspected ‘chop shops’ have been discovered by the force since the start of last year.
Stolen vehicles have been broken down at so called ‘chop shops’ – sometimes in a matter of hours – in back street garages or industrial estate units before repaired cars are sold on via eBay, Gumtree, Autotrader or other auction sites.
Investigations run by West Midlands Police suggest criminal gangs are snapping up damaged cars rated insurance write-offs from salvage auctions – and then stealing cars to order for the parts they need to fix them and sell for a hefty profit.
It follows concerns that a spiralling demand for car parts is fuelling the rise in vehicle crime, including car key burglaries and car-jackings.
Vehicle crime has increased significantly in the last two years, driven by the demand for parts to repair write-offs sold as repairable by the insurance industry.
What do you think can be done to combat this crime? Should more checks be mandatory on cars sold after repairs have been made to combat this issue? Let us know in the comments.