Covid Linked To Car Theft Boom

Sat 11th Jun 2022

One of the UK’s leading police forces has said that a shortage of vehicle parts, a consequence of pandemic factory lockdowns, could be behind a spike in car crimes across the UK.

Latest data from 34 different police forces reveals that there were 88,915 car thefts in the year up to March 2022, an average of 244 car thefts per day, or one stolen every six minutes.

It is believed that legitimate garages and car franchises are facing a crippling shortage of parts, with some customers facing months of waits to get their car engines repaired. These waits have led to some vehicle parts being sold on the black market, with a spate of car thefts seeing cars stripped purely for their parts.

The global supply chain for vehicles has been hit hard, particularly for microchips, but with many other parts sourced from Ukraine, Russia and China, which was recently under strict lockdown, the industry has hit a crisis point.

Now West Midlands Police, one of the worst hit regions, have spoken out about the problem, which is being driven by demand for the parts, and not the actual cars. 

“We’ve seen issues around microchips, but also particular vehicle parts that have been troublesome for people to get hold of,” said Superintendent Jim Munro of West Midlands Police.

“Some of those parts are being sold for quite high prices due to the demand. People will work through the night in industrial areas, and sometimes these vehicles have been stripped in a matter of hours. The parts are then being sold and the shells waiting for scrap.”

The West Midlands has been hit particularly hard by the crimewave with a 19 per cent increase, and is behind only South Yorkshire (28%) and City of London (25%).

“When you’re locking your vehicle, make sure that vehicle is locked, that the signal is not being blocked, no matter how long you’re leaving the vehicle for,” Munro added.