Case Study | Operation Navigate


As a bespoke anti-fraud unit comprised of ex-Police and Fraud Squad officers, APU is at the heart of the battle against organised car theft from the UK where there was an estimated £100 million worth of vehicles stolen in the first quarter of 2015 alone.

Case Study | Operation Navigate

Stage 1 | April 2015 | The operation

In April 2015, one of thousands of vehicles tracked and protected by APU was flagged by its unique, fourth-generation technology and later left the UK on May 1st.

This started an investigation, as the driver who had the car on loan – a high value Lexus – was not authorised to take it abroad. The car had been loaned to the driver after he reported being in an accident in his own vehicle in London; investigations found the RTC claim was in fact fraudulent.

Case Study | Operation Navigate

Stage 2 | May 2015 | NCA and APU cooperate

The car was reported stolen with the Met Police when APU was able to prove that it was in a shipping container that originated from a UK port in Oman.

At this point, APU was contacted by the National Crime Agency (NCA), which was initiating a covert operation to dismantle a high-level, international car crime syndicate.

The NCA had identified an opportunity to carry out the operation using the stolen Lexus and they needed APU’s co-operation and bespoke technology to make it work.

Case Study | Operation Navigate

Stage 3 | May 2015 | Vehicle shipped to Middle East and beyond

The vehicle had now been traced from the Middle East to the port of Mombasa and by road across Kenya.

By now the NCA’s regional manager had backed the partnership with APU after finding out how it could monitor the Lexus despite it being in a steel container, which would render any other devices useless.

APU agreed, in confidence, to support Operation Navigate and provided essential intelligence to the NCA and the National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (NVCIS) on a 12-hourly basis throughout the operation.

Case Study | Operation Navigate

Stage 4 | June 2015 | The sting

The vehicle was on the move once again and was finally traced to Kampala, Uganda, where a sting operation was carried out to arrest the syndicate ring-leaders and seize the container carrying the Lexus.

However, unbeknown to APU and the NCA, the operation had in fact unearthed a substantial vehicle crime hub, leading to the discovery of 36 stolen vehicles collectively worth more than £1 million.

The vehicles are being repatriated to the UK and the criminal network behind the syndicate was dismantled. Uganda, previously one of the primary destinations for cars stolen from the UK, has been effectively shut down as a hotspot for stolen cars, according to the NCA.

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