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Durban Highlighted As Export Destination Of Stolen UK Vehicles

ACPO (Association Of Chief Police Officers) : 08 February, 2011  (Company News)
The vehicle crime division of the ACPO has recovered large quantities of high value vehicles destined for Durban in South Africa as it clamps down on vehicle crime in the UK
Following the recovery of 18 high-value stolen vehicles from South Africa, the UK’s dedicated vehicle crime unit has announced that it has recovered vehicles valued in excess of £4 million during the past four months.

In the current economic climate, demand for high-value vehicles is great, and the ACPO Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (AVCIS) has highlighted Durban as a key destination for stolen cars shipped from the UK. During a raid at a UK port in December 2010, containers with 16 stolen vehicles destined for Durban were intercepted by AVCIS, allowing the vehicles to be returned to their owners.

An ensuing investigation led to an additional 18 stolen cars being identified in South Africa, with AVCIS facilitating their recovery. The 36 vehicles recovered included models from prestige brands Audi, Lexus and Bentley, as well as Land Rover Discoveries.

“With shipping relatively cheap and loop holes present in African legislation, the exportation of stolen vehicles to this region is becoming increasingly popular with organised crime gangs,” said AVCIS’ Head of Unit, Detective Chief Inspector Mark Hooper. “The identities of legitimate vehicles are being cloned and attributed to identical stolen vehicles before being put into containers and shipped abroad, with Durban being high on the list of likely destinations.”

Detective Constable Vince Wise, who visited South Africa to aid in the recovery of the vehicles, said: “We’re working hard to identify and recover a significant number of vehicles that have been dispersed into Africa via Durban. We are aware that a number of stolen vehicles are located there and we’re continuing our investigations in order to return these to the UK.”

This investigation is just one of numerous operations AVCIS has in progress to recover stolen vehicles and remove them as a facilitator for serious organised crime. Funded predominantly by private sector partnerships, AVCIS receives a grant of £300,000 of tax payers’ money from the Home Office to assist in its important work.

“Despite the austere climate, AVCIS has consistently recovered over £1 million worth of stolen vehicles each month since October 2010,” added DCI Hooper. “We’re extremely happy with the results over the past few months, and are especially pleased with the significant recovery from South Africa.

“In the current climate, motorists are extremely vulnerable. Not only is AVCIS working to recover vehicles but it’s also putting resources into increasing awareness of vehicle crime and ways in which motorists can protect themselves,” added DCI Hooper. “Without essential funding from the Home Office and our valued partners, we would not be able to carry out this important work.”
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