RAC Cars News


Bedfordshire Vauxhall Owners Suffering Parts Crimewave

By raccars Published

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In what appears to be a very twisted version of an episode of Midsomer Murders, Vauxhall owners in Bedfordshire are living in fear, as griffin badged cars are being cannibalised for parts overnight. The 'Vauxhall cannibals,' as the thieves are being called, appear to be an organised gang.

Since August 2013, Bedfordshire Police have been involved in over 500 cases of Vauxhall cannibalism, particularly the theft of body panels from Astra and Corsa models. The situation was also featured on 1 July's episode of the BBC's Crimewatch Roadshow.

Even stranger is the variety of crime, with incidences including the theft of a numberplate only or just a bumper, going up to completely stripping some cars. One hundred and fifty Vauxhalls have been declared write offs after so many usable parts had been taken, that replacement was neither practical nor economical.

Quiet Bedfordshire is not exactly known as a hotbed of crime but it is believed that the prevalence of Vauxhalls in the Bedfordshire area is a factor, meaning there is a higher proportion than average of that brand of car on the roads there. The firm's headquarters is in Luton, a town which already reports a crime rate higher than the average. Body panels are the most popular target of the crimewave and police believe that the stolen parts go on to be sold as spares and repairs for crash damaged vehicles.

Police are concerned than the trend appears not to be slowing but rather to be gaining momentum. Cases of Vauxhall stripping have increased to about five to ten per week since April this year, and now residents in nearby Northamptonshire are reporting similar thefts. Garage forecourts and residential driveways are the most common locations for scavenging Vauxhalls and the crimes usually occur at around 2-4am. One theft was captured on CCTV and shows a very laid back pair of thieves detaching a body panel from a Corsa, before sauntering off with it in plain sight of a residential road. They were not even deterred by a neighbour's cat setting off a security light at the property.

So far, the damage done to Vauxhalls in Bedfordshire is estimated at tens of thousands of pounds. Police are warning people against buying non-verified motor parts but have come up short in catching the culprits. Those with any information about the thefts are requested to contact the police on 101 or to call the Crimestoppers team anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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