Fourteen arrests made in police crackdown on 4x4 thieves

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Fourteen people have so far been arrested in a county-wide police crackdown on the theft of 4x4 vehicle.

A special task force of officers have executed warrants and searched nine premises in Halifax, Bradford and Huddersfield over the last month leading to the recovery of two stolen vehicles and a number of stolen parts from Range Rovers.

Of those arrested, one man has been charged with theft, while the other 13 have been interviewed and released on bail.

Operation Emporia was set up to combat an emerging issue with Land Rover and Range Rover vehicles being targeted by thieves, particularly for LED headlamps but also doors, mirrors, bonnets, wheels clusters and grills.

Chief Inspector Steve Thomas, the force lead for Operation Emporia, said: “Operation Emporia is a co-ordinated force response to an identified emerging crime type with 4x4 vehicles being targeted by thieves. The activity over the past few weeks shows how seriously we are taking this issue and we will continue to utilise a number of tactics to tackle this offending head-on.

“Working closely with manufacturers, we have been stopping certain vehicles fitted with LED headlamps to ensure they are legitimate. I want to reassure drivers of Land Rovers or Range Rovers fitted with LED headlights that if they are stopped by the police it is part of our work to protect their vehicles and would look for their support.”

As part of the ongoing work under Operation Emporia, owners of 4x4 vehicles who have recently had second-hand LED lights fitted are being urged to contact police with proof of purchase.

“I would urge anyone who has recently had such parts fitted to make contact to advise where these parts were fitted. I would also urge caution for anyone looking to buy second-hand parts.

“If we stop a vehicle and it is suspected that it is fitted with stolen parts then these will be removed and the owner of the vehicle could face prosecution.

“Any owners of these kinds of vehicles looking to buy second-hand parts need to ensure they buy from reputable sellers and know where the parts have come from. What may seem like a bargain at the time may well be too good to be true and could leave you left out in the dark.”

Members of the public are also being encouraged to report any suspicious behaviour or thefts of parts from their own vehicles.

“If you see anything suspicious then please call police immediately. It is also vital that if your vehicle is stolen or any part taken that you report it to us so we can do all we can to recover it.”

Anyone with information about this type of crime is urged to call the Operation Emporia team on 101 or pass information anonymously to independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”