Cops crack down on Hammersmith scrap yards
Watch out for thieves if you drive an old car
Police raided scrap yards in Hammersmith last week in an operation to put a stop to stolen car rings.
The crackdown, led by nearly 200 police working with local authorities, was also carried out across Brent, Barnet, Ealing, Hillingdon, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire, was an attempt to stop cars being stolen and sold as scrap metal.
The operation came in response to a recent change in tactics by car thieves, fuelled by demand from India and China for scrap metal.
Rather than stealing high powered sports cars, thieves have started targeting old bangers, which can be crushed and sold on with minimum danger of detection.
Unlike new cars which favour plastic, older vehicles made up to 10 years ago contain more metal and carbon - netting criminals about £500 per car.
The operation is relatively simple, gangs cruise the streets and load cars onto pick-up trucks, whisk them to scrap yards who can crush the vehicles into cubes in minutes.
Cops seized licence plates, computers and other documents in the joint operation.
The market for steel, copper, brass, aluminium and iron has increased dramatically in the past 18 months. Police say scrap metal now fetches about £200 per tonne.
July 3, 2008