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Police Target Auto Dismantling Businesses

Police Target Auto Dismantling Businesses
New Zealand Police National News Release
4:02pm 18 December 2008

Christchurch police will be checking all auto dismantlers in Canterbury to ensure compliance after a business was discovered to be stripping and on selling car parts.

Police executed a search warrant at an automotive dismantling company on Tuesday 16 December acting on information which indicated that the business was operating illegally and that employees were engaging in criminal activity.

Detective Craig Clare says that this was the termination of a five week covert investigation that revealed employees conducting business with known criminals.

"Employees were purchasing stolen vehicles, stripping them of parts for export and disposing of the remains through a scrap metal company, within days or in some cases hours of the purchase," he says.

As a result of executing the search warrants, numerous stolen vehicles and vehicle parts were recovered.

It was also revealed that the business itself was operating illegally. Automotive dismantlers along with scrap metal dealers have to be licensed and employees certified to buy or sell second hand vehicles or parts under the Second hand dealers and pawn brokers act.

Detective Clare says in this case the licence holder resided in Auckland and none of the employees dealing in the day to day running of the business in Christchurch was licensed or held certificates allowing them to buy or sell second hand vehicles or parts. The business is no longer operating.

"The high world price of scrap metal is a major contributor encouraging offenders to steal cars and on sell them this way. Over the last 12 months the price scrap metal dealers are willing to pay for older model cars has made it worth while for people to sell them to an auto dismantler for wrecking rather than just dump them or pay someone to remove a vehicle from their property," he says.

Police are aware of other businesses operating under similar circumstances and starting in the new year the Canterbury Car Squad intends to instigate a plan of random, regular visits to auto dismantlers Canterbury wide to ensure compliance with the Act. Future operations targeting auto dismantlers in a similar manner to this case will also be conducted.

Arrests are pending once further investigations have been completed.


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