Costa spare parts criminals detained

POLICE dismantled a gang which stole cars in Alicante and Murcia and broke them up for spare parts.

Six premises were searched in and around Orihuela (Alicante) and nine people detained.

The arrests also allowed police to solve 30 outstanding thefts, said sources close to the case.

The gang came to the attention of the police in September last year after three Moroccans were found stealing vehicles in the Vega Baja.

Many were parked vans, with the keys left in the ignition while drivers made deliveries.

Investigators found that the thieves were stripping down vehicles at a country house in Los Miras, near Los Montesinos.

They then took the spares by road to North Africa via the Algeciras ferry, using faked invoices from scrap dealers to confirm their origin.

Entire vehicles were also taken to Morocco on false papers after changing their number plates for those of cars of the same make and model.

The group used additional premises in Callosa de Segura, where the most valuable spare parts were hidden.

Those of little value and most of the chassis were dumped in a ruined depot on a Crevillente (Alicante) industrial estate.

Police also intercepted a large van in Lorca (Murcia) and arrested the driver, a Moroccan heading for Algeciras.

It was loaded with spares, including Mercedes, BMW and Volkswagen engines.

Other members of the group, also Moroccan, were arrested in Alicante, Algeciras and Marbella.

The operation is ongoing and police do not rule out further arrests.

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