As a bespoke anti-fraud unit comprised of ex-police and fraud squad officers, AX (formerly APU) is at the heart of the battle against organised car theft from the UK, where there was an estimated £100 million worth of vehicles stolen in the first quarter of 2015 alone.
Stage 1 - April 2015 - The operation
In April 2015, one of thousands of vehicles tracked and protected by AX was flagged by its unique, fourth-generation technology and later left the UK on May 1st.
This started an investigation, as the driver who had the car on loan – a high value Lexus – was not authorised to take it abroad. The car had been loaned to the driver after he reported being in an accident in his own vehicle in London. Investigations found the RTC claim was in fact fraudulent.
Stage 2 - May 2015 - NCA and AX cooperate
The car was reported stolen with the Met Police when AX was able to prove that it was in a shipping container that originated from a UK port in Oman.
At this point, AX was contacted by the National Crime Agency (NCA), which was initiating a covert operation to dismantle a high-level, international car crime syndicate.
The NCA had identified an opportunity to carry out the operation using the stolen Lexus and they needed AX’s co-operation and bespoke technology to make it work.
Stage 3 - May 2015 - Vehicle shipped to the Middle East and beyond
The vehicle had now been tracked from the Middle East to the port of Mombasa and by road across Kenya.
By now, the NCA’s regional manager had backed the partnership with AX after finding out how it could monitor the Lexus despite it being in a steel container, which would render any other devices useless.
AX agreed, in confidence, to support Operation Navigate and provided essential intelligence to the NCA and the National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (NaVCIS) on a 24/7 basis throughout the operation.
Stage 4 - June 2015 - the sting
The vehicle was on the move once again and was finally tracked to Kampala, Uganda, where a sting operation was carried out to arrest the syndicate ring-leaders and seize the container carrying the Lexus.
As a direct result of the collaboration between the NCA and AX, this operation unearthed a substantial vehicle crime hub, leading to the discovery of 36 stolen vehicles all stolen from the UK and collectively worth more than £1 million. This remains the highest valued repatriation of stolen UK cars from the region.
The vehicles are being repatriated to the UK and the criminal network behind the syndicate was dismantled. Uganda, previously one of the primary destinations for cars stolen from the UK, has been effectively shut down as a hotspot for stolen cars, according to the NCA.
Find out more about how AX can protect your vehicles using innovative car theft prevention and recovery techniques.