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Police discover car ‘chop shop’ and ‘sophisticated’ drugs operation in Nottinghamshire

A garage full of dismantled cars and a cannabis grow were unearthed after officers spotted a suspected stolen vehicle.

After spotting a car being driven in the north of the county, thought to be using false plates, officers from Nottinghamshire Police’s dedicated road crime team and armed response vehicles sprung to action.

Team members found the car in Main Street, Clarborough, yesterday (Wednesday 20 July).

While searching the vehicle and questioning a passenger they found a bag full of cash, along with keys for multiple other vehicles, but their interest peaked after spotting another man running into a building the vehicle had pulled up at.

On closer inspection officers found three vehicles all suspected to be stolen and using false number plates taken from the Manchester, Bedfordshire and South Yorkshire areas.

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Officers made their way into a garage at the back of the property where they stumbled across the chassis of two vehicles which they believed had been stripped for parts.

In their search for the driver of the vehicle and acting on further information officers began to inspect a neighbouring house. A man was found hiding inside and a cannabis grow, thought to include around 200 plants.

A 39-year-old man was arrested at the scene on suspicion of theft of a motor vehicle and cannabis cultivation.

A 28-year-old man was also arrested on suspicion of theft of a motor vehicle.

Both men remain in custody as investigations continue.

Detective Sergeant Andy Hall, from the force’s dedicated burglary team, said: “This was a great bit of work from the road crime team in catching a reported stolen vehicle that has led us to a suspected ‘chop shop’ that looks to be part of a much wider operation crossing multiple counties across the UK.

“We know the impact car theft can have on a person, which is why we work with other forces from across the borders to trace vehicles and disrupt people who look to profit from their illegal actions.

“I would urge anyone who thinks they know where stolen cars are being handled, dismantled or suspect a unit is being used for criminal purposes to get in touch.

“We are still investigating this incident and both suspects remain in custody so would ask anyone with any knowledge or information to speak to us.”

A chop shop is a place where stolen cars are broken down into parts, which are either added to other cars or sold, often on online marketplace websites.

Photos taken from inside the garage reveal the true extent of the vehicles found, showing not just the shells of the cars but also the parts surrounding the chassis left standing.

Inspector Hayley Crawford, District Commander for Bassetlaw, said: “This was fantastic work by the officers and shows just how tenacious we can be when we spot something that doesn’t add up.

“Having spotted a wanted car, the road crime team and armed response vehicles refused to give up and followed it all the way to an address in Retford, before finding a garage full of car parts and dismantled and stripped cars that turned out to be stolen from neighbouring counties.

“Not only did we make two arrests but we’ve also disturbed what looks to be a sophisticated cannabis grow and criminal operation.

“I want to thank all those involved for their hard work and all the effort that has been put into the investigation so far and continuing into today.

“It was a great job by all and I hope it sends a strong message to those committing crimes in Bassetlaw and entering from across the border that we use all the tools available to us to crack down on criminals and will continue to work with other forces to put a stop to criminal activity.”

Anyone with any information is asked to call 101, quoting incident number 307 of 20 July 2022, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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