Premier League football players’ stolen cars were discovered in shipping containers.

Premier League football players’ stolen cars were discovered in shipping containers.

A specialized unit of Essex Police has successfully recovered stolen cars, including vehicles owned by two undisclosed Premier League footballers, as part of their efforts to combat car theft. The recovered vehicles, valued at over £16 million, were found in shipping containers destined for Dubai from London Gateway Port in Essex. In total, the unit retrieved 517 vehicles or parts.

The footballers, who have over 100 international caps between them, had their cars stolen in neighboring counties but were fortunate to have them recovered. The police believe that thieves intended to profit by selling the stolen vehicles overseas, where they could fetch significantly higher prices compared to the UK market.

One of the footballers expressed gratitude for the police’s efforts and was impressed by their dedication to recovering his car. Despite being rivals on the pitch, the player commended the service he received.

Essex Police’s stolen vehicle intelligence unit (SVIU) highlighted that car thieves often employ various tactics, such as quickly selling stolen vehicles below market value, dismantling them for parts, or shipping them abroad to regions like the Middle East and Africa. Stolen vehicles might also be sold to unsuspecting individuals in the UK under false identities or cloned registrations.

Operation Ignition, which involved SVIU, roads policing, and investigators, targeted the criminal gangs responsible for these thefts during the summer. The police have successfully returned a wide range of vehicles, from family cars to luxury sports cars, to their rightful owners.

To prevent car theft, Essex Police recommended double-locking and checking vehicles and using additional security measures such as steering-wheel locks. They also encouraged drivers to educate themselves about the vulnerabilities of their specific vehicle make and model and consider using safety devices recommended on the Secured by Design website. Manufacturers like Jaguar Land Rover, Ford, BMW, and Mercedes have collaborated with the police to enhance vehicle security measures.

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