Police investigate Vauxhall parts theft

A strange type of car crime is being committed in one region of Britain, thieves are stripping down Vauxhall cars as their owners sleep and hundreds of owners have fallen victim, the BBC reports.

The investigation into this car crime was shown on BBC’s Crimewatch Roadshow last night (1 July), the programme outlined how in and around Bedfordshire, owners of Vauxhalls have been waking to find their cars taken to pieces overnight.

Bedfordshire Police say there have been more 500 offences in which components have been stolen from Vauxhall Astras and Corsas since August 2013.

The thieves take body parts in varying quantities, sometimes it’s only the bumper and the number plate stolen, in other cases the cars are stripped right down to the chassis.

In 150 cases the damage was too extensive for repairs to be economically viable.

At first, the thefts were sporadic, but recently they have picked up in pace. Since April 2015, five to 10 of these crimes have been recorded every week.

‘I work out of Luton, Dunstable, area of Bedfordshire and we’re seeing maybe one a day,’ says Katy Stewart, a scenes of crime officer with the force. Police say they are also aware of incidents in the neighbouring county of Northamptonshire.

The culprits generally choose cars in residential locations or at garage forecourts. The Vauxhalls are typically targeted between 02:00 and 04:00.

Officers suspect the components are being sold on to the body repair market. Typically, they are the kind of parts would need to be replaced in the event of an accident.

The value of those stolen so far runs to tens of thousands of pounds, and detectives believe the thieves are making big profits. The sheer number of thefts suggests that a large and organised criminal network is responsible.