Chop shops, cloning and clocking – new reports reveal UK vehicle crime wave

car crime

Three new reports have highlighted the extent of criminal behaviour in the UK used vehicle market.

First, West Midlands Police (WMP) announced that it had arrested 280 suspects and recovered 631 vehicles, worth a total £1.6m, in relation to chop shops.

A WMP spokesman told the local Express and Star newspaper: “There are concerns a spiralling demand for car parts is fuelling a rise in vehicle crime, including car key burglaries and violent car-jackings.

“A number of people have already been arrested and put before the courts. We also know that a proportion of stolen vehicles are broken down at so-called chop shops and sold on through online auction sites.”

Emphasising the risk to consumers, he added: “The people putting these cars back together often have no qualifications and will sell the botched-together vehicles on legitimate websites, meaning not only could the next car you buy be made from stolen parts, it could also be extremely dangerous.”

Next, motoring website HonestJohn.co.uk asserted that car cloning in London has risen by 50%.

It analysed Transport for London data for the Congestion Charge Zone and found that the number of Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) being cancelled due to car cloning soared from 1099 in 2016 to 1652 in 2017.

HonestJohn.co.uk’s managing editor, Daniel Powell, said: “On the grounds that it is down to the car owner to prove they are innocent, it would be safe to assume that the true figure for car cloning in London is significantly higher.”

As if that weren’t enough, the Local Government Association (LGA) has published data showing that clocking increased by 25% between 2014 and 2016.

It suggests that more than two million UK cars now have altered odometer readings. One van sold with 89,000 miles on the clock was found to have travelled more than 243,000 miles.

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