For sale: Vauxhall Corsa - one previous owner, twin fluffy dice, no engine.
Thanks to an audacious new breed of criminals dubbed the ‘Vauxhall cannibals’, it might not be too long before this sort of listing becomes commonplace in one area in England currently in the midst of a bizarre crime wave.
According to a recent investigation by BBC Crimewatch, Bedfordshire is being ravaged by a spate of robberies involving Vauxhall cars which are ravaged for parts while their owners sleep and then, police believe, sold on to the body repair market.
Ironically enough, in 150 cases the criminal damage caused was deemed so extensive that repair on the vehicles was deemed as not economically viable, with those that are able to get repair work done having to fork out over £5000 for the pleasure.
Since 2013, over 500 offences in Bedfordshire have been committed involving stolen parts from Astras and Corsas – and it’s growing: while the thefts started off infrequently, as of April of this year, 5-10 crimes have been recorded per week. It’s enough to make car owners slap another badge on it and hope the felons miss it.
And as this crime wave has increased so has the criminal’s audacity, stripping down an entire chassis in a matter of minutes and carrying out this in suburban areas. The targets are often found in residential locations or at garage forecourts between two and four AM, with the thieves directly going for the sort of parts normally needed in the event of an accident.
One of the victims, Lisa Frankland, can attest to that. She told the BBC she woke up one morning to discover the entire front end of her Corsa had disappeared completely, bumper to bonnet, front lights to radiator, all gone. “I just wasn't expecting it," she said. "I didn't expect to go out and find the front of the car missing."
But why Vauxhall, you ask? Bedfordshire has more brand loyalty to the car company than anywhere else and the company’s main plant is situated in Luton - a fact police believe has played a major factor in the car brand being targeted by these ‘cannibals'.
So, if you do own a Vauxhall, happen to live in the area and don’t fancy having it torn apart as you snooze, it might be best to start parking it in a garage.