"This group was handling stolen cars on a huge scale"
One of the UK’s biggest ‘chop shop’ gangs have been ordered to pay back more than £1 million of their ill-gotten gains.
In December 2019, Mohammed Nadeem, Nadeem Arshad, Zahir Hussain and Amaan Zameer were jailed for a total of 23 years.
Three of the men have now been told to pay back a total of £1.1 million after officers looked through their financial dealings.
West Midlands Police’s Economic Crime Unit looked through bank statements and assessed the value of the stolen cars which passed through their chop shops.
Nadeem, Arshad and Zameer were ordered to pay back the sum following a Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) hearing at Wolverhampton Crown Court.
Arshad must pay back an additional £114,941 after he could not explain a series of suspicious bank account deposits.
Nadeem and Zameer must also pay back £17,543 and £51,183 respectively while a POCA application against Hussain will be heard in February 2021.
Detective Inspector Hannah Whitehouse said: “This group was handling stolen cars on a huge scale, bigger than anything we’ve ever seen in the West Midlands.
“They were providing a very active market for car thieves, causing lots of pain and distress to motorists.
“These men are still in jail but it’s important we show crime doesn’t pay and will pursue offenders through the courts to strip them of their ill-gotten gains.
“We’ll take any cash and assets the men have to repay the POCA amount and any outstanding debt will hang over them for life.
“We will regularly revisit their cases and seize any property or inheritance they should come into until the debt is paid off.”
It was previously heard that the ‘chop shop’ gang purchased damaged vehicles from salvage auctions rated repairable write-offs.
They then fixed them using parts from stolen cars which came from burglaries and violent carjackings.
The stolen vehicles were dismantled at ‘chop shops’ in Birmingham and their parts used to patch up the write-offs which were then sold online for a huge profit.
One unsuspecting customer paid more than £10,000 for a VW Golf which police later revealed had been fitted with airbags from a stolen car which would not have deployed in a crash.
The gang were linked to 117 cars, stolen from the West Midlands, Liverpool, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, Warwickshire and Yorkshire.
The gang were caught when a car owner traced his £70,000 Mercedes SL400 to a garage in Digbeth, Birmingham, in 2017.
The stolen Mercedes was found inside with false plates and surrounded by car parts, body panels and number plates.
Officers were then led to another chop shop in Cheapside where 24 stolen cars had been dismantled.
Police raided the homes of Nadeem and Arshad where they found more car parts and vehicle documents.
Detectives found stolen parts were being sold through two eBay accounts called BritishGermanCarSpares and car-parts-2010.
The sites had shipping addresses linked to Nadeem and Arshad.
After a BMW was stolen from a garage forecourt in Derby, it was tracked to a business unit in Sparkhill and another chop shop was found.
Arshad was jailed for seven years, Nadeem to six years, Zameer to five years and three months and Hussain was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison.
Zameer was also given three months for assault with intent to resist arrest, to be served consecutively.