Large 'chop shop' found by West Midlands Police

31 May 2022 | David Young

West Midlands Police have uncovered a large chop shop after tracing a stolen car to a scrap yard in Birmingham

Large 'chop shop' found by West Midlands Police

Many suspected stolen parts were packed up ready for shipping

West Midlands Police (WMP) found the partially-dismantled Range Rover – stolen in Kings Norton on 22 May – at a compound in Cheston Road, Birmingham, at around 11.15am.

It was surrounded by an array of vehicle parts, including engines, bumpers, and other body shells, and we've already linked some to other car thefts.

They found parts to vehicles stolen in Halesowen, Stourbridge and Hampton-in-Arden on 11, 9 and 20 May respectively, plus another taken in Manchester in March.

Many parts were already packaged up for shipment, but our forensic vehicle examiner will now be pawing through everything in a bid to link items to other offences.

Officers also found a 'jammer' which is a gadget car thieves use to block the frequency from key fobs, so vehicles are left insecure when owners believed they're locked.

Superintendent Jim Munro, West Midlands Police lead for vehicle crime. He said: "We run a roads policing operation through the night on the lookout for car thieves. It's been really successful and last year the operation netted more than 2,000 arrests and recovered 1,000 stolen cars.

"But it's also important we go after the market for stolen vehicles – and often that's 'chop shops' that quickly dismantle the cars and sell on the parts.

"Often those stolen parts go to repair vehicles bought by criminals from salvage yards, so buyers are unwittingly driving around in cars consisting of stolen parts.

"This is a great find by our officers and initial enquiries suggest this is a sizeable chop shop and may well have been the final destination for many stolen vehicles."

No arrests have been made at this stage, but we've sealed off the compound for a thorough search.

Tell-tale signs of a chop shop to watch for

  • Noise coming from units late at night or in the early hours of the morning
  • Vehicles that look out of place going in to workshops and not coming back out
  • Large amounts of car parts being stored, sometimes in odd places such as gard
  • Shipping containers in unusual locations
  • Expensive items such as engines and gearboxes outside workshops