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WMP welcomes landmark vehicle salvage industry move to tackle car crime

WMP welcomes landmark vehicle salvage industry move to tackle vehicle crime

In a recent news release, West Midlands Police and the Police & Crime Commissioner have welcomed a decision by one of the UK’s biggest vehicle salvage auctioneers to ban cash payments for written-off cars – and said the move will help police curb the rise in vehicle crime.


Salvage management specialists SYNETIQ (Link to article) – a leading seller of industry write-off vehicles – has announced that from March 1st it will stop accepting cash payments from customers and will instead insist on bank transfers.

West Midlands Police and the PCC launched a campaign last year calling for tougher standards around the re-sale of damaged vehicles amid concerns the practice was fuelling a surge in vehicle theft.

Investigations run by the force suggest criminal gangs are snapping up damaged cars rated insurance write-offs from salvage auctions – and then stealing cars to order for the parts they need to fix them and sell for a hefty profit.

Around five times more vehicles – mainly luxury marques like Audi, BMW and Range Rover or other high-spec cars – are sold at auction as repairable write-offs compared to write-offs to be scrapped for spare parts.

And it’s suspected the imbalance is leading crooks to steal cars – some during violent car-jackings – for matching spares rather than buy expensive factory-made parts from manufacturers.

Chief Superintendent Chris Todd
Chief Superintendent Chris Todd

West Midlands Police Chief Superintendent Chris Todd welcomed SYNETIQ’s decision and urged other salvage auction houses to follow suit.

He said: “There’s a correlation between the types of cars being stolen and those available as repairable write-offs; it is our firm belief, supported by police intelligence, that this increase is being driven by the criminal demand for car parts.

“SYNETIQ are setting a great example: they are listening to police concerns over the rise in stolen cars and are taking steps to make it more difficult for crime gangs to exploit the salvage vehicle industry.

“It’s widely accepted cash payments are fuelling car crime and acting as a money laundering loophole. By making purchasers buy salvage vehicles through bank transactions then we have a footprint of the sale which would clearly help any subsequent investigations.

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“We want all salvage businesses to remove cash payment options, tidy up their processes and close potential loopholes that could be exploited by criminals. We also want salvage auctions to introduce a ‘know your customer’ framework and have clear structures in place to report suspicious buyer activity.

“I will continue raising our concerns with government, the Association of British Insurers and online auction and sales sites.”

Richard Martin, Group MD of SYNETIQ, added: “I am delighted SYNETIQ is leading the industry with regard to compliance and transparency. We have worked closely with our clients and the authorities and will continue to drive up standards and trust, in both our business and the industry.” 

The PCC and West Midlands Police are members of the government’s taskforce on vehicle crime. It is examining potential law changes and measures that the industry can take to better protect vehicles from theft.

The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson, who has been leading a national campaign to reverse the rise in car crime, said: “I’m delighted SYNETIQ have listened to the police and acted quickly to ensure its process doesn’t allow criminals to exploit loopholes in the system.

“I would urge other firms in the sector to follow SYNETIQ’s lead. There’s much more work to do within the salvage industry, but this is a good start.

“I will continue to fight for more to be done by government, motor manufactures and the insurance industry to clamp down on car thefts.”



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Owain Griffiths

Owain Griffiths

Head of Circular Economy at Volvo Cars

Owain joined Volvo Cars in June 2021 to lead Circular Economy in the Global Sustainability Team. The company has committed to being a circular business by 2040 and has financial, recycled content and CO2 based targets for 2025, all of which Owain is working across the company to make happen. Owain previously worked for circular economy consultancy Oakdene Hollins where he advised businesses on evidence led circular economy implementation. 

Turning into a circular business and the importance of vehicle reuse and recycling.

The presentation will cover the work Volvo Cars is doing to achieve 2025 but mainly focus on the transformational work towards 2040 and the business and value chain changes being considered. Attention will be paid to the way vehicles are being dealt with at the end of life and the complexities of closing material and component loops. Opportunities and challenges which Volvo Cars is facing will be presented including engagement with 3rd parties and increasing pressure from stakeholders.

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e2e Total Loss Vehicle Management [e2e] is the UK’s only salvage and automotive recycling network with nationwide, environmentally compliant sites delivering performance resilience and service reliability to the insurance and fleet markets.  The network’s online salvage auction drives strong salvage resale values and faster sales.  e2e’s salvage clients have access to the network’s stocks of over 5 million quality graded, warranty assured reclaimed parts. 

The power of the network model means e2e has the ability to influence industry standards and is committed to continually raising the bar whilst redefining the role and perceived value of the salvage operator.  Network members adhere to robust service level agreements, against which they are audited, in order to ensure performance consistency and a market leading customer experience.  

The salvage and recycling operating environment is evolving rapidly, and e2e is anticipating, listening and responding to changing market needs.  Regulatory compliance, ESG, reclaimed parts, customer experience, EVs, new vehicle technologies, data and reputation risk are just some of many considerations linked to the procurement of salvage services.  e2e will drive further added value to clients and members through the adoption and application of emerging technologies, continuing to differentiate its proposition and position salvage services as a professional partnership. 

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