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Bowling car ‘chop shop’ raided by Bradford police
Police who swooped on a suspected Bradford ‘chop shop’ after a tip-off from a security guard, have netted more than £100,000 worth of possible stolen car parts and goods.
Officers raided the industrial unit at Lessarna Court in Bowling Back Lane on Wednesday night after a security guard became suspicious of a Land Rover left running with no keys in the ignition.
Two complete Land Rovers, three engines, two chassis, three sets of number plates, various tools and a number of business cards were found at the scene yesterday.
The unit was shut down while police continued to carry out investigations to track down those behind the garage.
While two police officers stood on guard, a forensic team was inside the unit sifting through car parts identifying whether or not they had been come from broken up stolen vehicles.
Inspector Andy Gallant, who leads the Bowling, Barkerend and Bradford Moor Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “We have disrupted the use of these vehicles and will now do all we can to identify those responsible and bring them before the courts.
“I would like to thank the member of the public who brought this operation to our attention and would appeal to the general public to look out for premises, particularly industrial units, being used as chop shops.”
Tell-tale signs include suspicious activity around motor vehicles, high-value cars that are apparently new, frequent movements in and out, and vehicle parts which have been scattered around the premises.
“Handling stolen goods is a serious offence and we will do all we can to disrupt criminals who aim to profit from people’s misery,” added Insp Gallant.
One man who works nearby but did not want to be named, said: “It was suspicious straight away. The lad who heard the Land Rover running went over to have a look because there was no one about. When he saw there was no ignition in it but the engine was ticking over, he called the police. He knew there was something odd going on.
“Soon after that, the police came and raided the place. I don’t know exactly what they’ve found in but there’s lots of car parts about. You never see anyone working there in the daytime, it’s always at night.”
Earlier this year police raided two breakers’ yards and a car wash in Spencer Road, Lidget Green, and another business in Essex Street, in the city centre, following other raids in Bowland Street, Manningham, and Norcroft Street, in the city centre.
It was part of a crackdown called Operation Squadman in which Environment Agency and Customs and Excise officers were also looking for evidence of pollution or illegal fuel. Police worked through hundreds of car parts to see if they were stolen. Chop shops are often linked to other crimes, such as fuel thefts or Hanoi burglaries, in which thieves steal car keys.