Detectives investigating a gang of thieves who used scanners to steal at least 70 keyless cars and 4x4s have arrested nine people.
Police raided 10 homes across London, Essex and Hertfordshire in the early hours of Wednesday and arrested six men and three women.
The operation was a move against a network which investigators believe is behind the theft of at least 70 high-value vehicles worth more than £1.5 million in total, most being Range Rovers.
It is claimed that the gang used scanners to copy the signal from the owners’ keyless fobs as the luxury vehicles were parked in driveways.
The thieves then fitted false plates to the cars or otherwise changed their identity before selling them on.
Detective Constable Tom Jenkins said: “For many months, we have been working tirelessly behind the scenes to build evidence against the Organised Crime Group we believe to be responsible for the theft and fraudulent resale of at least 70 high-value vehicles to enable us to make our arrests.
“I hope this shows the community that we take this crime type very seriously, and we will do everything in our power to bring those responsible to justice.
“I’d remind people with electronic car keys to keep them away from doors and in a signal blocking pouch when not in use to prevent thieves scanning it to open and steal your car nearby.”
He also warned car buyers to check documents before committing to a sale.
“If you buy a stolen car, not only would it result in you losing your money and having no car, but you could be arrested for handling stolen goods,” Mr Jenkins said.
“When buying a vehicle, always check the DVLA V5 document and make sure the Vehicle Identification Number on the vehicle is the same as on the document.”