Police investigating a spate of luxury car thefts in London have traced stolen vehicles valued at over £1m to Uganda.
Metropolitan Police detectives were alerted when a £50,000 Lexus SUV was stolen from a house in west London. The vehicle was fitted with a state-of-the-art tracking device which self-activates if it moves without the authority of its rightful owner.
The UK’s National Crime Agency was able to track the car’s movement, leading investigators to Le Havre in north France, before it was shipped all the way to Oman in the Middle East. It was then shipped on to Kenya and finally transported in a container to Kampala, the capital of Uganda.
Police worked with local Ugandan law officials and travelled to Kampala, where they were stunned to find not only the Lexus they had been tracking, but 26 other cars that had been stolen in the UK before being shipped, presumably via a similar route, to Uganda. The value of the vehicles exceeds £1 million.
As a former British colony Uganda is a right hand drive market, making UK cars popular. Transport costs also makes importing cars relatively expensive. Prestige European market vehicles, particularly 4x4s, command a high value in a home market flooded with low spec Far Eastern fodder.
The stolen cars found in Kampala are now in the process of being transported back to the UK to be reunited with their owners, which in most cases will be insurance underwriters.