Eighteen people were arrested in dawn raids following an investigation by detectives from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command, with assistance from the Met’s Organised Vehicle Crime Unit.
The arrests marked the culmination of a large-scale, twelve-month operation by detectives to detect and arrest a sophisticated organised crime network (OCN) who are believed to be responsible for over £1.5 million in stolen motor vehicles across north London and the home counties.
The arrests, which took place in the early hours of Wednesday, 1 February and Wednesday, 15 February, were for offences including conspiracy to steal, conspiracy to conceal, disguise, convert or transfer criminal property and perverting the course of justice.
The three women and 15 men arrested were aged between 30 and 60-years-old.
Ten of those arrested have since been charged with a variety of offences including conspiracy to steal motor vehicles.
During the operation on Wednesday, 15 February, officers seized one firearm which is believed to be an adapted lethal barreled air weapon.
Those arrested are believed to play a role in various aspects of the criminality and have different responsibilities which include; locating and stealing cars from the homes of innocent members of the public, exploiting DVLA processes to clone vehicles and fraudulently obtaining registration documents. The vehicles were then sold to innocent members of the public, who were often left out of pocket by significant sums of money once the vehicle was identified as being stolen.
Some of those arrested were also linked to violent incidents in recent years including firearm discharges and violent assaults.
Some of the thefts were aggravated by other circumstances, such as the presence of a baby in one of the cars which was stolen. That car was later abandoned with no regard for the safety of the child – thankfully, the child was located quickly and safely returned to his mother.
Investigating officer, Detective Constable David Van Der Valk, from Specialist Crime North, said: “This Organised Criminal Network has been operating pretty much undeterred for the past four years whilst stealing vehicles primarily in London, Hertfordshire and Essex.
“The sale of the cloned vehicles has a significant financial impact on individuals from all around the UK, with stolen vehicles recovered as far afield as Glasgow. These arrests and the dismantling of this OCN should demonstrate that we are able to bring those involved in this type of offending to justice.”
The vehicles stolen were mainly Mitsubishi Outlanders, Hyundai, Land Rovers and Range Rovers.
Detective Sergeant Danny Cooper, of the Specialist Crime Command said: “This group were very organised and prolific in their activities, causing significant loss and hardship to their victims, while making significant financial gains for themselves.
“The arrests and subsequent charges are the result of many hours on investigation spanning the course of a year during which the defendants were both identified and linked to this crime network.”

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