Essential information for end of life vehicle dismantling, depollution and recycling


No cash, no crime??

ATF Professional recently had the opportunity to ask Jennifer Sims, Assistant Chief Constable of the Cheshire Police and National lead for vehicle crime with the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), some questions about cash payments and vehicle recycling and salvage operations. Find out what she had to say.


No cash, no crime?? p
Jennifer Sims

In the past, you have stated that there is a clear connection between vehicle theft and the acceptance of cash payments at salvage auctions. Would you mind explaining why you think this is the case and how it encourages car theft?

It is widely known that cash is an enabler and has clear links to organised crime – the context here is wider than just vehicle crime. The lack of an audit trail is the most attractive element for those involved in organised crime. Therefore, any avenue for the free flow of cash acts as an attractive proposition for criminals looking to either dispose of or “launder” illegal cash.

The lack of an audit trail in the cash sales within salvage auctions exploits the lack of an audit trail, this, in turn, fuels the theft of vehicles, which are then believed to be used as donor vehicles to either repair or take on the identity of the vehicle purchased from the salvage auction.

That is why the main salvage companies across the UK now no longer accept cash payments. This demonstrates their commitment to eradicate vehicle theft from society and reduce the number of victims of vehicle theft across the UK.

It is not illegal for salvage auctions to accept cash payments, so how would you encourage them to stop doing this, or do you think regulations need to be put in place to ban the acceptance of cash altogether?

The reality here is that no encouragement should be required, the links are clear, and no individual or company wants to be responsible for enabling vehicle crime. We have had some really positive results with companies such as COPART and SYNETIQ no longer accepting cash as part of their commitment to reducing crime.

Some salvage auction companies have already volunteered to stop taking cash payments. Do you hope this will become a growing trend, and do you liaise with savage auctions, and if not, how can they support you?

As above, of course, we would like this to be taken on board by all, as it is a relatively simple step.

Some may say that salvage auctions are doing nothing illegal regarding taking cash payments and that car theft and the establishment of chop shops are unfairly blamed on them. How do you respond to this? Would you agree that there are many factors to the problem surrounding car theft and salvage auctions can only help play a part in its decline?

Let me be clear here: the use of cash doesn’t automatically indicate criminal intent, and there are some that would always rather deal with cash due to the nature of their business. There are many elements to the wider problem-solving work currently underway within the National Vehicle Crime Portfolio, and this work features as one element.

If a salvage auction company or vehicle recycler wish to ask how they can play their part in helping to stop car theft or report an illegal activity, who can they contact?

Anyone wishing to engage with police on this issue should contact their local force. Illegal activity can be reported via 101 (999 in an emergency), and people can give information anonymously via Crimestoppers.


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Adam Hewitt

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The views and opinions expressed on ATF Professional are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the editor, publisher or staff of ATF Professional.


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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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