One of the UK’s largest vehicle salvage auctioneers has stated that from March 31st, customers will no longer be able to pay cash for written-off motorcycles and cars.
A spokesperson for salvage management specialists Synetiq says the company has taken the action – which will see bank transfers used for payments – in collaboration with the West Midlands Police, whose police and crime commissioner launched a campaign last year calling for tougher standards around the re-sale of damaged vehicles, amid concerns that the practice was fuelling a surge in vehicle theft.
Police investigations suggest criminal gangs are purchasing damaged bikes and cars rated as insurance write-offs from salvage auctions, then stealing similar vehicles for the parts they need to fix and sell them.
“Synetiq are setting a great example,” said West Midlands Police Chief Superintendent Chris Todd. “They are listening to police concerns over the rise in stolen vehicles, and are taking steps to make it more difficult for crime gangs to exploit the salvage vehicle industry by closing potential loopholes that could be exploited by criminals.
“It’s widely accepted that cash payments are fuelling vehicle crime and acting as a money laundering loophole. By making purchasers buy salvage vehicles through bank transactions, we have a footprint of the sale that would clearly help any subsequent investigations.”
The sale of motorcycle salvage – particularly frames with and without registration documents – and the identification of machines and their component parts has been an agenda item on the Motorcycle industries think tank, the MCRG (Motor Cycle Crime Reduction Group) for more than 25 years, and it has become a surprisingly difficult one to police. It’s a great idea and we hope other insurance companies instruct their salvage dealers to follow suit.
245,779 cars and 79,228 motorcycle are still missing from thefts over the last five years. Some will have been taken overseas, but many will also have been stripped for parts; Datatag has had success recovering parts and helping the police to close down so-called ‘chop-shops’ using its motorcycle tagging system, the latest of which – the Master System – is fitted to most new motorcycles sold today.
Policing Minister Nick Hurd is also to chair a new taskforce that will tackle vehicle theft, including motorcycles. The members of the group – which will meet every six months – are the National Police Chiefs’ Council, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, Thatcham Research, the Retail Motor Industry, the Association of British Insurers, Combined Industries Theft Solution, the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime, West Midlands Police and the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA).