Write-off sales behind car thefts

West Midlands Police (WMP) have stated that they are to lobby government and the insurance industry surrounding concerns that selling written-off cars for repair is powering an increase in vehicle theft.

Investigations run by the WMP suggest criminal gangs are snatching up damaged cars rated insurance write-offs from salvage auctions – and then stealing cars for the parts they need to fix them and sell for a large profit.

Around five times more vehicles are sold at auctions as repairable write-offs compared to write-offs to be scrapped for spare parts.

It is suspected the imbalance is leading criminal gangs to steal cars for matching spares rather than buying expensive factory-made parts from manufacturers.

WMP deputy chief constable Louisa Rolfe, said, ‘We’ve witnessed a near 100% increase in vehicle thefts across the West Midlands in the last four years – up from 5,215 in 2014-15 to more than 10,000 in 2017-18.

‘And there’s a correlation between the types of cars being stolen and those available as repairable write-offs; it is our firm belief, supported by police intelligence, that this increase is being driven by the criminal demand for car parts.’