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ڈیل 5

The Rising Threat of Car Chop Shops

The Rising Threat of Car Chop Shops - Paisley Autocare

Stuart Ross |

What are Car Chop Shops?

The automotive industry has recently witnessed a concerning trend that poses a significant threat to car owners and dealers alike. The prevalence of car 'chop shops' has seen a dramatic increase, with the demand for stolen car parts skyrocketing.

In a startling revelation, police reports indicate that the number of these illegal operations has doubled. In the first half of 2023 alone, 34 chop shops were identified and raided by UK police forces. To put this into perspective, this number is already higher than the total of 32 chop shops discovered throughout the entirety of 2022.

These illicit establishments are essentially workshops where stolen vehicles are disassembled to sell their parts. During the raids, authorities uncovered hundreds of stolen vehicles and equipment valued in the millions. This led to numerous arrests, shedding light on the vast network of these operations. A significant breakthrough in these discoveries was the use of tracking units from Tracker. These units, equipped with both GPS/GSM location technology and a patented VHF system, were covertly installed in some stolen vehicles, leading authorities straight to the chop shops.


Clive Wain, the head of police liaison at Tracker, provided insights into this alarming trend. He highlighted the increasing demand for high-quality used parts, driven by delays in the new part supply chain. Additionally, the current economic challenges have inadvertently boosted these illegal activities.

Interestingly, the discontinuation of the Ford Fiesta's production in July 2023 has spurred a massive demand for second-hand parts for this model. With over 1.5 million of these cars on UK roads, criminals have seized this opportunity, making a fortune by selling stolen Ford Fiesta parts in the underground market.

Geographically, Essex has emerged as the central hub for these chop shops, primarily due to its key ports facilitating international trade. Following closely are Greater London and Kent. Wain elaborated on this, explaining that the proximity of these regions to major shipping ports makes them prime locations. Stolen cars and their parts are often shipped overseas, fetching prices multiple times higher than in the UK.

In conclusion, while authorities, in collaboration with companies like Tracker, are making strides in shutting down these illegal operations, the profitability and efficiency of these 'businesses' mean that as one is closed, another emerges. It's a continuous battle, but with collective efforts from the police, companies, and the community, there's hope to curb this menace.

For those concerned about vehicle security, here are some tips:

  • Protect your key fob from 'relay' thefts.
  • Always lock your car and never leave it running unattended.
  • Install physical barriers like security posts.
  • Avoid leaving belongings visible in your car.
  • Store car documents and spare keys securely, not in the car.
  • Consider additional security measures like security lighting and steering wheel locks.
  • Consider fitting your vehicle with a tracker to aid in recovery if stolen.