Stolen Car Parts Now Multi-Million Pound Industry

Wed 1st Jun 2022

Sophisticated car crime gangs are stealing almost half a million car parts a year says new analysis from one of the UK’s leading insurers.

The estimate comes from Direct Line, an insurer which is counting the cost in the increase in car parts being stolen, which totals £71.2m, a figure which consists of some 474,600 individual parts. The insurer analysed data collected from a Freedom of Information request made to local policing authorities and found that in the last three years the cash value of stolen parts had reached an amazing £744million.

The number one item stolen from cars is number plates, which are often taken so that criminals can clone a vehicle to avoid detection by automatic number plate recognition cameras. There were some 53,400 number plates stolen in 2021, and though they are easily replaced and relatively cheap, the hassle and inconvenience of proving that it wasn’t your car involved in a speeding offence is one we can do without.

Second on the list of top stolen car parts is catalytic convertors, a rising crime, which in some cases can lead to a car been written off. Sneaky thieves know that they can get £150 a time at scrap yards for the convertors, which often contain valuable metals and minerals. Direct Line’s data said that there were 39,900 catalytic convertor thefts in 2021.

 “Our research shows the most popular car parts stolen, number plates and catalytic converters, are both on the outside of the car, meaning it is simply not enough to just double lock your vehicle,” said Lorraine Price, Head of Direct Line Motor Insurance.

“Motorists should make sure to park in well-lit, populated areas and look out for CCTV cameras.”