Three people have been charged by police following a string of raids and arrests yesterday relating to the theft of over 70 Range Rovers and high-end cars worth more than £1.5 million.

Met Police squads executed search warrants at 10 residential addresses in London, Essex and Hertfordshire in the early hours of March 17 as part of a proactive operation targeting an 'Organised Crime Network'.

The crime gang are believed to be responsible for the theft of at least 70 high value cars, the majority being Range Rovers, and worth a combined total of more than £1.5 million.

Nine people were arrested in the raids, but Met Police now say three people have been charged with criminal offences, including one man from Southwark.

Met Police

Met Police

Alax Alabo, 37, of Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea, Richard Baker, 38, of Warburton Terrace, Waltham Forest and Lenus Rosil, 40, of New Church Road, Southwark were charged on Thursday, 18 March with conspiracy to acquire / use / possess criminal property, namely a large volume of motor vehicles, between 17 November 2019 and 26 February 2021.

They will all appear in custody at Thames Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, 18 March.

Six other people who were arrested during the warrants executed in London, Essex and Hertfordshire on Wednesday, 17 March have been bailed pending further enquiries (date awaits).

Detectives believe the OCN is responsible for stealing, cloning and fraudulently selling high-value vehicles, with the first theft dating back to November 2019.

Vehicle cloning changes the identity of a vehicle and can be as simple as adding stolen number plates.

A joint investigation by the North East Area’s CID and the Organised Vehicle Crime Unit have linked at least 70 high value vehicle thefts to the group, with cars stolen from people’s driveways in London, Surrey, Kent, Essex and Hertfordshire.

The majority were keyless car thefts – where thieves use a device to capture the key fob’s signal to trick the car into opening.

Detectives believe the OCN routinely cloned and registered vehicles and fraudulently sold them in London and Essex.

Detective Constable Tom Jenkins, the investigating officer from the North East CID, said: “We have listened to what the public have told us and we understand that the theft of a vehicle, especially from your own driveway, is extremely distressing and an area of policing that the community want us to focus on.

Met Police

Met Police

“For many months, we have been working tirelessly behind the scenes to build evidence against the Organised Crime Group we believe to be responsible for the theft and fraudulent resale of at least 70 high-value vehicle to enable us to make our arrests today.

“I hope this shows the community that we take this crime type very seriously, and we will do everything in our power to bring those responsible to justice.

“I’d remind people with electronic car keys to keep them away from doors and in a signal blocking pouch when not in use to prevent thieves scanning it to open and steal your car nearby.

“I’d also urge those buying cars to remain vigilant. If you buy a stolen car, not only would it result in you losing your money and having no car, but you could be arrested for handling stolen goods. When buying a vehicle, always check the DVLA V5 document and make sure the Vehicle Identification Number on the vehicle is the same as on the document.”