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Organised crime linked to spate of van thefts

PUBLISHED: 07:01 19 August 2014 | UPDATED: 15:30 20 August 2014

Police are investigating reports of vehicle thefts in the borough

Police are investigating reports of vehicle thefts in the borough

Archant

A spate of van thefts could be linked to organised crime, police have revealed.

Officers suspect certain types of vans are being targeted, broken up and taken out the country to be sold off for parts.

Speaking on Monday, Redbridge DCI Neil Lemon said police believed Mercedes Sprinter vans, Ford Galaxy people carriers and high-powered motorcycles were being targeted.

“We ask people to be vigilant if they own any of these vehicles,” he said.

“We think the vehicles are being broken up for parts and possibly even being moved out of the country.”

He said certain parts on the vans were hard to get hold of in eastern Europe.

Police are now investigating whether the thefts could be linked to organised crime.

“It potentially is [linked to organised crime] because of the volume of vehicles going missing,” he added.

DCI Lemon said after stealing the vehicles, thieves often parked them up for a few days to check if they had tracker devices.

“If members of the public see a van parked up in a strange location, please call us,” he said.

Officers also announced there had also been a rise in reports of “vehicle interferences” over the past few months.

PC Lee Smart said there had been a “substantial number” of incidents, particularly in the Woodford area.

He said 40 incidents had been recorded since March, suggesting criminals had noticed people were “not bothering to lock their vehicles.”

Anyone with information can contact police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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