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05 May 2015

INTERPOL supports UK operation targeting criminal networks behind vehicle crime

UNITED KINGDOM – An INTERPOL-supported operation in the UK targeting vehicle crime has highlighted the issue of transnational criminal networks trafficking stolen vehicles out of the country.

The two-day (28 and 29 April) Operation Britcar was led by the UK National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (NaVCIS) and supported by the INTERPOL Stolen Motor Vehicle (SMV) Task Force. During the operation, police inspected vehicles at the ports of Felixstowe, Dover and Portsmouth, identified as routes used by organized criminal groups to smuggle stolen vehicles to Southern Europe and Africa.

Some 550 vehicles were checked against national stolen vehicle records and INTERPOL’s SMV database, which contains nearly 7 million entries submitted by 126 countries worldwide.

Police recovered 18 stolen vehicles, including a caravan which had been reported just 40 minutes earlier, and arrested two individuals.

“Operation Britcar 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 our foreign law enforcement colleagues who share a commitment to take action against vehicle crime,” said NaVCIS Detective Inspector Wayne Cooke.

During the operation, police also offered crime prevention advice to owners of high-end vehicles which may be at risk of being targeted by thieves.

“Joint actions such as Operation Britcar are among the most effective ways to combat the organized criminal groups behind the trafficking of stolen vehicles, a crime which transcends national borders,” said INTERPOL’s Director of Specialized Crime and Analysis, Glyn Lewis.

Also participating in the operation were Europol, the National Crime Agency, UK ACRO Criminal Records Office, UK Border Force, Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, and local police forces.