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27 September 2018, 13:26 | Updated: 27 September 2018, 13:33
Two more ‘chop shops’ were uncovered in the space of an hour on September 26th and seven people arrested as West Midlands Police keeps up the pressure on car thieves.
The units in Minerva Lane, Wolverhampton and Oak Lane, Kingswinford were found either side of midday by officers investigating recent car thefts.
A 21-year-old man was arrested from a BMW X5 - one of five stolen from a Bilston car yard on Sunday (23 Sept) - at the Minerva Lane site and two other men aged 32 and 19 also detained from a garage containing car parts.
Earlier in the morning officers on patrol in Broadmore Road, Bilston, arrested two men aged 22 and 31 found asleep in the back of a transit van displaying false number plates.
They were detained on suspicion of car theft - one after a brief foot-chase - and further enquiries also led officers to seize a BMW 1-Series parked nearby that’s also understood to have been taken during the auction yard break-in.
All five remain in police custody for questioning.
And at 12.25pm yesterday a second ‘chop shop’ was discovered in an industrial unit off Oak Lane after police tracked a BMW M3 to the location that was stolen the previous night from Quinton Road West.
The BMW had already been stripped down and two men - aged 46 and 36 from Pensnett and Brierley Hill, respectively - were arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods. Both have been released under investigation while enquiries continue.
Efforts on-going to try and trace the man believed to have delivered the car to the site.
Last month, West Midlands Police launched a campaign urging members of the public to report any garages or units they suspect could be taking stolen vehicles and stripping them down for spare parts.
#ChopShops: We've arrested 7 people on suspicion of car theft and handling after uncovering two vehicle 'Chop Shops' in the space of an hour in #Dudley & #Wolverhampton. A BMW M3 was found stripped down at one just hours after being stolen. Full story: https://t.co/g9TS57s43L pic.twitter.com/qMDo6f5aAp— West Midlands Police (@WMPolice) 27 September 2018
Campaign lead, Chief Superintendent Chris Todd, said: “The M3 was found almost completely butchered with the boot lid, bonnet, dashboard, wheels and other panels removed - and this was within a few hours of it being reported stolen.
“We’ve found other parts in both units, including lots of cutting and dismantling tools, that we also suspect have come from stolen vehicles, plus some vehicle documentation linked to cars that have been reported stolen.
“As a result of some great, inquisitive police work by our officers - and quick-time enquiries - we’ve managed to uncover two chop shops and make several arrests.
“Since we launched our campaign we’re getting a steady flow of information from the public about suspected chop shops, and as a result made arrests and closed premises down.
“We’ll take positive action on all information provided so I’d urge anyone with suspicions that a unit is handling stolen cars to contact us."
Information can be passed to West Midlands Police on 101 or on LiveChat via west-midlands.pnn.police.uk between 8am and midnight. Or people can call the charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.