Sixteen people have been sentenced for taking part in a £2 million fraud conspiracy which targeted high-value cars.

Several men were given fake identity documents by an organised crime group that had made fraudulent credit agreements using stolen information. Once credit had been finalised with car dealers across the country, it was arranged for the men, who were known as ‘strikers’, to collect cars from different locations such as hotel car parks.

The fraud ran from February 2020 to July 2022 during which time 75 cars, including Porsches, Mercedes and BMWs valued at more than £2 million, were stolen.

NaVCIS’ experienced investigators identified the initial linked frauds and Hertfordshire Police added their serious crime investigators. Together they were able to pool resources to conduct a lengthy and complex investigation and reach a successful conclusion.

Sharon Naughton, Head of NaVCIS, said: “We are delighted to have assisted Hertfordshire Constabulary in bringing these offenders to justice.

“NaVCIS bridge the gap between policing and industry and were able to aid this investigation and prosecution by delivering an overarching intelligence and analytical provision for its duration. This included securing and preserving evidence, liaising with external statutory partners including the DVLA and DVSA and working with industry partners to secure statements from witnesses, business and individual victims, including members of the public.

“This was determined and sophisticated criminality with multiple victims for each fraudulently obtained vehicle. Those who had their details stolen in the first place that were used to illegally obtain finance for vehicles, the garages, vehicle manufacturers and finance companies who were defrauded, and those who the cars were eventually sold on to who were all ultimately left out of pocket once the vehicles were seized.

“NaVCIS were able to elevate the knowledge and understanding of police investigators by giving insights on the behaviours and patterns of the criminals involved which helped secure their arrests and bring them to justice. The sentences reflect the prolific nature of the offending and the sheer scale of economic fraud.

“We urge anybody purchasing a second-hand car to ensure they have taken every effort to guarantee that the information given to you is accurate. Ask to see evidence of MOT certificates and service history and contact the garages concerned to confirm their authenticity. If the price is too good to be true, trust your instincts. Do not pay cash if you are offered a discount, keep a paper trail. Cloning of stolen vehicles has become extremely difficult to detect. If you buy and drive a stolen car, your insurance will not be valid and this will incur an uninsured loss when the vehicle is seized.

“NaVCIS continue to support police investigations to disrupt criminality that affects both business and the public and investigate fraud and theft of finance vehicles on behalf of industry sponsors, the Finance and Leasing Association.”

For sentencing details please see the Hertfordshire Police article