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.”
£45,000 of machinery seized at Southampton Port
Our team of specialist port officers at Southampton Docks recovered four high-value agriculture machinery items from a shipping container.
Upon examining the containers, they revealed contents from numerous burglaries in the Liverpool and Manchester areas.
A Hamm HD12 Road Roller, valued at approx. £25,000, was recovered after being stolen from Merseyside in January 2019. All of the original ID was intact, but the hire company livery had been crudely removed. Unfortunately, the steering column damaged as a result of the burglary.
In addition a JCB 524/50 telehandler, valued at £18,000, was stolen just after Christmas from a dairy farm.
The VIN plate had been removed to ensure that it couldn't be formally identified. Fortunately the stamped VIN was still intact, and the machine still carried the fleet livery at the time of the discovery.
A Stephill Generator was also recovered after being stolen from a construction site in Old Trafford over Christmas. It was worth approximately £3,000.
The fourth machine identified was a 2011 Terex Dumper, last registered to frim Travis Perkins. A number of significant steps had been taken to ensure that it couldn't be easily identified such as removing the livery and VIN sticker from the machine.
Although officers at the port were able to identify that it belonged to a fleet of vehicles after remnants of livery (a blue and yellow oval) were found on each side of the machinery.
A successful operation, showcasing how NaVCIS's dedicated teams are helping to protect farm and agricultural communities from harm caused by the theft of farm and construction vehicles and machinery.