Range Rovers believed stolen from Redbridge found in containers at port destined for Kenya

Criminals are stealing high value cars using gadgets

Criminals are stealing high value cars using gadgets - Credit: Archant

Land Rovers believed to have been stolen from Redbridge have been found in containers destined for Kenya at a shipping port in Suffolk.

The Met Police launched Operation Endeavour this week following a rise in car thefts linked to organised criminals using new techniques to open and drive keyless vehicles.

Figures showed an eight per cent increase in vehicle theft across London, with Redbridge recording the most keyless vehicle thefts in 2014 of any borough with 602.

Five Land Rover Range Rovers, believed to have been stolen from Surrey, South Woodford and Islington, were found in containers at the port in Felixstowe.

Officers also seized hundreds of vehicle parts, believed to have been stolen from across east London and destined for sale in Cyprus.

In the joint operation with ACPO Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (AVCIS), seven containers filled with cars and vehicle parts were examined.

No arrests have been made but enquiries and searches are ongoing.

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Det Ch Sup Carl Bussey, leading the operation, said: “We began opening the containers on Tuesday. They are so jammed with cars and vehicle parts that we are still extracting the contents.

“In one container, bikes, also believed stolen, were packed around vehicle parts to disguise the true contents of the container from any inspectors.

“I launched Operation Endeavour by emphasising the need for drivers to secure their vehicles in order to try and prevent keyless vehicle theft. This, combined with the joint enforcement work with our colleagues in the Home Counties and AVCIS, will help us reduce vehicle theft and arrest the organised criminals behind it.”

Det Insp Wayne Cooke, of AVCIS, said: “AVCIS has been supporting our Metropolitan Police Service colleagues with our ports intelligence unit staff identifying opportunities for examining and recovering vehicles and vehicle parts stolen through keyless methods.

“As part of this campaign we have successfully disrupted a number of high value vehicles heading to overseas countries. Recovering vehicles such as these in Operation Endeavour offers opportunities for further investigation with particular emphasis in tackling organised crime groups involved in vehicle criminality.

“This sends the clearest message to criminals that agencies are working together to tackle keyless offending and put the fear of crime back onto the criminal.”

Yesterday officers also took part in Operation Lockdown, with around 800 officers from the Met and forces in Kent, Essex, Hampshire, Surrey and Thames Valley Police services monitoring 20 arterial roads, stopping vehicles believed to have been stolen or linked to other crime.

They seized 222 vehicles, two of which were believed stolen, while others were seized for suspected offences including driving with no insurance.

Sixteen people were arrested on suspicion of motor vehicle theft.

A further 68 were arrested on suspicion of offences including possession of offensive weapons, burglary, money laundering and driving while disqualified.