Blitz on car theft gangs sees 100s arrested and 1,000+ stolen cars recovered

An operation targeting car theft gangs has netted almost 2,500 suspects this year and led to the recovery of more than 1,000 stolen vehicles.

The offensive − named Operation Cantil − uses intelligence-led patrol strategies to ensure officers are in the right place at the right time to target crooks hunting high-value cars.

Traffic units work through the night alongside specialist units, including dog teams, to target areas that have been hit with burglaries plus near the homes of potential suspects.

To date this year a total of 2,465 people have been arrested by Op Cantil patrols, including 769 car crime suspects, and 1,035 stolen cars have been recovered.

They include two major car theft rings − one hitting homes in Solihull and the other Walsall − that’s seen a total of seven men charged with conspiracy to commit burglary and conspiracy to steal motor vehicles.

All seven are either remanded in prison or on bail awaiting trial.

And on Wednesday morning (16 Dec) we arrested two teenagers who are suspected of car-jacking a woman in Yardley Wood as she returned from the school run.

The 32-year-old’s VW Golf was recovered nearby and two teenagers, aged 19 and 17, detained on suspicion of robbery.

They’ve now been charged with the offence, while the younger suspect faces another count of attempted robbery after it’s alleged he tried forcing entry to a home in Cambridge Road, Moseley, on 14 December alongside an 18-year-old who’s also been charged.

West Midlands Police Detective Sergeant Sandy Thompson from Force CID, said: “The operation doesn’t ‘knee jerk’ to crime. We examine crime trends, intelligence and offender behaviour in affected areas before a decision is made on were resources are sent.

“In short, we target where we believe the offenders live rather than following simple crime analysis. It’s an approach that’s really paying off with a big reduction in these types of offences − and we’re making good arrests on a daily basis.

“Since the start of the year, car-key burglaries across the West Midlands are down by 38 per cent − and that’s as a result of us taking out offenders who were causing the most harm.

“However, we are not complacent and we will be continuing our focus on the offenders as well as endeavouring to target those who are controlling them."

Operation Cantil has been running since 2017 and will continue into 2021 as we keep up the pressure on car thieves and organised crime gangs.

For more information on how to protect your home − including anti-snap locks − check out the UK Police approved Secured by Design website: