Dismantling organised criminal gangs at the ports
In a move to detect, deter and disrupt organised criminal gangs exporting stolen finance vehicles out of the UK to mainland Europe, NaVCIS recently coordinated an intelligence led investigation at the Port of Dover. Vehicles bought on finance are owned by the finance company until the final payment has been settled.In a multi-agency approach, NaVCIS worked alongside the Port of Dover Police, as well specialist officers from the Romanian and Bulgarian police. The operation focused on ‘Roll On Roll Off’ ferries leaving the UK - checking the status of finance and lease cars, HGV’s, car transporters and private/light goods vehicles heading out of the UK. This followed extensive intelligence which suggested that the route from Dover to Calais was being used to export stolen FLA financed vehicles out the UK to mainland Europe, typically Romania and other Eastern European countries. Now picture this: At the Port of Dover NaVCIS undertake a HPI check and establish a luxury Mercedes is on finance. They contact the Finance Leasing Authority (FLA) member wanting to assess the status of that vehicle belonging to the company. During an in-depth discussion the driver states he is en-route to Romania for a family event. The finance company is contacted by NaVCIS who confirm the vehicle is in arrears by approximately £1,400 – likely to be months of missed payments. What do you do? In this case, the FLA member Out of Hours support contact considered all the information provided to them by NaVCIS officers and made the decision to terminate the finance agreement with immediate effect. The vehicle was seized as a result of collaborative partnership between NaVCIS and the Romanian Stolen Vehicle Unit. While two stolen BMW engines were also recovered en-route to Poland thanks to the diligence and efforts of all involved in the operation. The parts were seized after NaVCIS officers established they resulted from two burglaries; a car key burglary in the Thames Valley area and a stolen vehicle from Heathrow Airport car park. This shows the efforts being made by NaVCIS to not only secure the border, but also to discourage those involved in the commission, preparation and instigation of organised crime.
John Kiszely, Intelligence Development Office at NaVCIS, said: “As a result of our intelligence gathering, and actions down at the Port of Dover, we’ve been able to take action against and exploit those who may be involved in organised crime. “We are now building up a bigger picture of the routes commonly used by criminals to obtain financed vehicles from the UK and transport them across mainland Europe into Eastern Europe. “In conducting ongoing investigations across UK ports, we are ensuring that we are in the best position possible to identify and take action against those responsible for the illegal exportation of finance vehicles, plant and agricultural machinery as well as caravans and motorhomes.”