Investigators were able to track this stolen Lexus which had been stolen in the UK and taken to Africa
The trail … ‘the luxury Lexus SUV was stolen in London by the car ring in April 2015’
‘it was loaded into a shipping container and transported by sea to France’
‘from Le Havre, it was carried down the Mediterranean to Oman’
‘investigators followed the stolen car to Uganda using an on-board tracker’
The car thieves stole the vehicles in the UK using reprogrammed blank keys which fooled the secuirty sysetms before loading them into shipping containers and transporting them across the globe to Africa
Stolen cars worth more than £1 million have arrived back on UK soil after they were discovered in Uganda.
Thousands of keyless cars are being stolen in Britain each year by international gangs who reprogramme blank keys which fool the vehicle’s security systems and drive off.
Many of the cars are packed into shipping containers and exported overseas making the job of recovering them very difficult.
The car’s owner had fitted his car with a tracking device which allowed authorities to follow it
The Lexus was tracked from London to Le Havre, then down to Salalah in Oman before it sailed down past Somalia into Mombassa, Kenya until it finally ended up in a car park in Kampala, Uganda three months later
However, last year, one Lexus SUV which had been stolen by a gang was fitted with a GPS tracking device, which allowed police to follow the car on a computer screen.
Investigators traced it to Le Havre, in France, where it was shipped across the Mediterranean, through the Suez canal to Oman.
It was then shipped to Mombasa in Kenya before being transported by road to Kampala – where they drive on the left-hand side – in a steel container.
When they eventually reached the Lexus in Uganda investigators discovered it was parked with 23 other cars which had also been stolen from the UK.
The operation was the culmination of a unique public-private partnership between the National Crime Agency (NCA), National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (NaVCIS), Interpol and anti-motor fraud specialist, APU Ltd.
Investigators were able to track the Lexus until it finished its journey in Uganda where they found other cars
Officers were only expecting to recover one car when they arrived in Uganda but discovered 23 other vehicles
The gang concentrated on stealing high-powered prestige vehicles such as this pair of Audis
The gang smuggled the cars out of the country using shipping containers on board massive cargo vessels
APU used leading-edge technology and forensic intelligence which allowed authorities to not only discover the stolen vehicles in the first place, but safely repatriate them back to the UK.
The cars have now arrived back on British soil following a 20,000 MILE round trip.
Neil Thomas, director of investigative services at APU Ltd, said: ‘This case is a feather in the cap for APU and its forensic capabilities.
‘But it’s also very pleasing that all parties involved were able to achieve some tangible success despite being led thousands of miles across the world in what was considered an impossible task by the police. One of the insurers involved had simply given up.
‘This is the first time such an operation has been run involving this level of International and cross agency cooperation and it is a real example of how private industry, leading edge technology and expertise can assist law enforcement.
‘It sets the template for future operations targeting organised criminals intent on stealing mobile assets.’
This is the first time insurers and the police have worked together to retrieve a stolen car from abroad
Twelve insurers, including Admiral, Allianz, Aviva and Zenith, were victims of the Ugandan car ring.
The joint public-private operation is a first as the chances of a luxury vehicle being returned if shipped abroad are traditionally very slim.
There were ten Range Rovers, six Audis, three BMWs, one Volkswagen, one Ford, a Nissan, Honda and the Lexus.
The cars, some of which were still covered in dust when they arrived at Southampton port, will now be returned to their owners or sold on by the insurance companies.
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