A number of stolen vehicles have been recovered after a successful nationwide multi-agency police operation has brought offenders to justice.

Made up of members of the Interpol Vehicle Crime Task Force, United Kingdom Border Force, The National Crime Agency and more, Operation Britcar, hosted by The National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (NaVCIS), triumphed in returning vehicles including a BMW, two caravans and a ride on lawnmower.

Nine stolen motorcycles that were bound for Africa were discovered in a container at the Port of Felixstowe, and four suspected stolen superbikes were found in another.

Numerous traffic violations including drivers possessing CS spray and a meat cleaver were also exposed, resulting in a large number of drivers fined or having their vehicles seized.

The exercise took place across a five day period at the end of April 2015 with UK police forces from Essex, Metropolitan, Hampshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Port of Dover actively supporting the task together with law enforcement teams from across Europe.

NaVCIS spokesperson, Detective Inspector Wayne Cooke said: "Operation Britcar has been extremely successful in not only supporting the detection and recovery of stolen vehicles at locations across the UK, but also in building effective working relationships with a number of foreign law enforcement colleagues working alongside us.

"A vehicle towing a stolen caravan was recovered 40 minutes after it had been reported to authorities reflecting the commitment to law enforcement to take positive action to tackle vehicle crime.

"This operation will help develop further intelligence in relation to harm caused by vehicle crime, disrupting and apprehending the criminals responsible."

Officers covering Dover, Southampton, Felixstowe and the motorway network on approach routes to ports of Tilbury and Portsmouth escorted vehicles to a safe location to speak with the drivers and examine the vehicles.

Along with recovering a stolen BMW and Mitsubishi L200 pick-up truck, Operation Britcar also identified a vehicle without a valid MOT certificate, a van with no insurance, and a vehicle displaying false foreign registration plates.

Glyn Lewis, Director of Specalized and Analysis at INTERPOL added: "joint actions such as Operation Britcar are amongst the most effective ways to combat the organized criminal groups behind the trafficking of stolen vehicles, a crime which transcends national borders".

The crime-stopping efforts come following over 16,000 vehicles reported stolen across the UK since the beginning of the year, many of which are thought to have been shipped in containers through ports in the south of England destined for southern Europe and Africa.

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