At the end of April 2015, Europol supported Operation BRITCAR, a five day joint action in the UK that led to the recovery of stolen vehicles, two caravans (one of which had only been reported stolen 45 minutes before it was located and recovered) and a ride-on lawnmower. Thirteen containers were searched, one was found to be concealing nine stolen motorcycles that were bound for Africa and a further container held four suspected stolen superbikes.
Europol's Focal Point FURTUM, which supports Member States in combating motor vehicle crime perpetrated by organised crime groups, provided on-the-spot support through the deployment of a mobile office. Real-time access to Europol's databases was given to the National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (NaVCIS), the host of the action.
The operation identified numerous traffic violations for which a significant number of drivers were fined or had their vehicles seized. In some instances, drivers were arrested or given cautions for offences which included possession of a CS spray and a meat cleaver. At one site alone, fines totalling GBP 2300 were issued.
Since the beginning of the year, over 16 000 vehicles have been reported stolen across the UK, many of which are suspected to have been shipped in containers through ports in the south of England by organised criminal groups, destined for southern Europe and Africa.