Cops Crack Down on Scrapyard Thieves
Gangs target old cars to sell as scrap metal
Police raided scrap yards in Hammersmith last week in an operation to put a stop to stolen car rings.
The crackdown, led by nearly 200 police working with local authorities, was also carried out across Brent, Barnet, Ealing, Hillingdon, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire, was an attempt to stop cars being stolen and sold as scrap metal.
The operation came in response to a recent change in tactics by car thieves, fuelled by demand from India and China for scrap metal.
Rather than stealing high powered sports cars, thieves have started targeting old bangers, which can be crushed and sold on with minimum danger of detection.
Unlike new cars which favour plastic, older vehicles made up to 10 years ago, contain more metal and carbon, netting criminals about £500 per car.
The operation is relatively simple, police say: gangs cruise the streets and load cars onto pick-up trucks, then whisk them to scrap yards where the vehicles can be crushed into cubes in minutes.
Cops seized licence plates, computers and other documents in the joint operation.
The market for steel, copper, brass, aluminium and iron has increased dramatically in the past 18 months. Police say scrap metal now fetches about £200 per tonne.
3 July 2008