Suspected ‘chop shop’ shut down after SUV stolen in Peterborough found in Essex

On Monday, officers from Essex Police’s stolen vehicle intelligence unit received information that a Range Rover, which had been reported as stolen overnight in Peterborough, was believed to be in the Braintree area.

The officers located three men with the car and a stolen motorbike, both on false plates, in a garage in Braintree Road, Cressing.

Maldon and Burnham Standard: Scene - Braintree Road, CressingScene – Braintree Road, Cressing (Image: Google)

Following a search of the property, equipment potentially used in the theft of the vehicles, including signal jammers and tools, were found and both vehicles were recovered.

Two men aged 25 from Cambridgeshire and a 42-year-old man from Braintree were arrested on suspicion of theft of a vehicle.

All three men have been released on bail until January 24 next year.

Maldon and Burnham Standard: Vehicle - a motorbike which had been reported stolen was also foundVehicle – a motorbike which had been reported stolen was also found (Image: Essex Police)

Maldon and Burnham Standard: Chop shop - officers believe the Range Rover's parts were being stripped for financial gainChop shop – officers believe the Range Rover’s parts were being stripped for financial gain (Image: Essex Police)

Det Insp Brian Palombella said: “The stolen vehicle investigation unit officers are dedicated to tackling car crime, whether it’s one stolen vehicle or organised crime.

“They identify and recover stolen vehicles and use the intelligence gathered to track other stolen vehicles, identify offenders and patterns of behaviour.

“The team’s work has evolved to become increasingly intelligence-led with the team targeting the people and places they believe are most likely to produce results.

“Our officers will do all they can to identify offenders and make arrests, to disrupt this type of crime.

“Our initial inquiries show that this could have been the beginning of what is commonly known as a ‘chop shop’ where a vehicle is stripped of parts for financial gain.”

Figures released by the Home Office last month revealed car thefts in Essex have risen 20 per cent in the last year.

Maldon and Burnham Standard: Awarded - PC Phil Pentelow and PC Paul Gerrish of Essex Police's stolen vehicle intelligence unitAwarded – PC Phil Pentelow and PC Paul Gerrish of Essex Police’s stolen vehicle intelligence unit (Image: Essex Police)

Last year, PC Paul Gerrish and PC Phil Pentelow, both officers in the specialist unit, were presented with awards by the International Association of Auto Theft Investigators for their outstanding contribution in the fight against vehicle crime.

The pair work with manufacturers including Jaguar Land Rover, Ford, BMW, and Mercedes to improve vehicle security.

Essex Police has published advice and guidance on steps car owners can take to protect their vehicles on its website.


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