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Australia suffers car theft increase

Australia – A number of recycling operators across Australia are prepared to pay cash for vehicles they suspect are stolen and then to ship them overseas, according to the nation’€™s automotive industry.

National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council (CAR-SAFE) spokesman Ray Carroll, a former police officer, says that theft of this type is becoming an ‘€˜increasing attraction’€™. Older cars are proving to be a particular point of focus although even light commercial ‘€˜prestige cars’€™ such as the Toyota Hi-Lux have been stuffed into shipping crates. Reports suggest the vehicles have been ending up on roads in Africa, Egypt, the UK and Serbia.

Many of the stolen vehicles are stripped for key components, such as engines and gearboxes, which are commonly sold into Asia as spare parts, adds Mr Carroll. It is ‘€˜far too easy’€™ for car thieves to sell vehicles for a few hundred dollars as an increasing number of buyers move to cash in on their recycled value on international markets. 

While theft in general has more than halved over the last five years, car thefts started to climb noticeably during 2011 for the first time in a decade, the council observes. A total of 13 258 vehicles were stolen during the 2012 March quarter – up 10% compared to last year. Known car theft ‘€˜hot spots’€™ include Hume, Moreland and Melbourne.

Despite this illegal trade being ‘€˜big business’€™, customs officers are usually more concerned about possible contraband entering or leaving the country, reasons Mr Carroll. He hopes implementation of a formal end-of-life vehicle scheme in Australia will discourage theft and potentially assist professional environmental disposal of harmful by-products like oils and batteries.

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Source: The Australian

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