Police swoop to bust car theft ring: BMWs, Mercedes and Saabs among the vehicles found during Mayobridge raid
Police are searching for the owners of 16 cars – some of them luxury models – discovered during a swoop in south Down.
The cars found include BMWs, a Saab, Mercedes, Chryslers, Volkswagens and Citroens.
The PSNI uncovered the haul during a planned search yesterday at premises on the Crossan Road in Mayobridge.
Two of the BMWs which were found were stolen in the Republic of Ireland.
However, the police are now working to identify the owners of the vehicles.
Officers also seized a lorry, tools, engine parts and documents.
A 29-year-old man was arrested during the operation.
Last night he remained in custody helping police with their investigation.
Detective Inspector Will Tate confirmed that two of the BMWs were stolen in the Republic.
It has not yet known where the remaining cars were stolen.
"We will now begin the task of identifying and locating owners of the vehicles seized to ascertain if they were in these premises lawfully or unlawfully," he said. "We have already been able to confirm that two BMWs were stolen in the Republic of Ireland.
"I would appeal to anyone in the community with information to contact us at Ardmore police station on the 101 non-emergency number."
Newry Ukip councillor Henry Reilly said he believed an organised gang was behind the thefts and the storing of the cars at the premises.
It is not known if the cars had been stolen to order, or were to be broken up for parts.
According to PSNI statistics, incidents of car theft have been rising slightly over the last year.
There were 427 vehicle offences within the thefts category recorded for November 2013.
By comparison there were 587 offences recorded in January 2014 – the highest level in the last two years.
However, this dropped to 383 in February, which was also the lowest level in the last two years.
In total, there were 5,281 vehicle offences in the thefts category recorded between February 2012 and February 2013.
In the following year, police recorded 5,588.