Case Studies

Global Demand for Car Parts Continues

Shortage creates a boom in the ‘chop-shop’ market and increase organised crime warns Tracker

As the global demand for car parts continues, Tracker Network (UK) Ltd, the stolen vehicle recovery (SVR) expert, is warning motorists to be extra vigilant when it comes to protecting their vehicles from thieves. Police across the country are continuing the fight against an increase in ‘chop shops’ – buildings which house stolen vehicles for stripping down so their expensive parts can be sold on. Organised criminals are establishing ‘chop shops’ as quick as the police are closing them down, demonstrating how lucrative this market is.

Clive Wain, Head of Police Liaison at Tracker said, “The lack of parts for new car manufacturing is impacting delivery wait times for eager car buyers, which in turn has resulted in a surge of sales in the second-hand car market. This has created a knock-on effect with the availability and price of car parts for used cars, creating an opportunity for thieves.  Criminals are working 24/7 to steal cars for their parts to then sell-on to criminal networks, not only in the U.K. but also in Europe, Middle East and Africa.”

Police in Greater Manchester have reported that gangs are buying written-off high-powered cars for minimal costs, which are then reconditioned using parts stolen from other vehicles. To get a piece of the action, it appears thieves are targeting specific makes and models, including Audi and Volkswagen, before driving them to chop shops where they are dismantled.

Wain continues, “We work very closely with U.K. police forces recovering stolen cars in ‘chop shops’ nationwide. Only recently Tracker, along with Essex Police, recovered a £55,000 Mercedes-Benz S500 AMG at an illegal chop shop, along with a further fourteen stolen cars worth a total of approximately £600,000. Cars that are stolen to be taken to ‘chop shops’ are often first left parked in suburban roads by thieves for up to four days, who wait to see if the vehicle is being tracked by police.  Once they are confident they can move the car on, it is taken to a chop shop where its identity is changed, and its high-value parts removed for re-sale.”

Tracker is the only SVR provider offering vehicle tracking systems that are supported nationwide by U.K. police forces. Tracker’s SVR solutions work like an electronic homing device. A covert transmitter is hidden in one of several dozen places around the vehicle. There is no visible aerial, so the thief won’t know it’s there. The combination of VHF with GPS/GSM technology unique to Tracker, confirms its SVR devices as a superior security defence against determined thieves.


Tracker’s top tips for vehicle security

  • Protect your key fob: Keyless car theft works through a relay-style electronic device tricking your key fob signal into thinking the key is near to the car and then the device can assume all key fob power. To prevent this, keep the key – and the spare too - away from where the vehicle is kept when not in used, and block the signal by keeping the key fob in a closed tin or faraday bag.
  • Switch off and lock up: Never leave your car running idle and unattended, even when defrosting windscreens and windows on a cold morning.
  • Make life difficult: Fit security posts or a substantial gate if parking on your drive, physical barriers will make thieves think twice.
  • Don’t advertise your stuff: Never leave your belongings on show, lock them in the boot or take them with you
  • Keep paperwork indoors – Don’t store car documents or spare keys inside the car as it makes it easier for thieves to sell it on
  • Plan for the worst: Take car security measures to protect your car from being stolen in the first place, such as installing security lighting where you park your car and using a steering wheel lock. If criminals find a way to steal your car, having a vehicle tracker fitted can help the authorities to recover your vehicle.