Document theft hits trade at car dealership

A RAID at one of East Anglia’s largest car lots has forced the owners to shut down temporarily after thieves stole vehicle documents for more than 100 cars.

The Carsworth lot, near Sudbury, was targeted by raiders who used blow torches and cutting equipment to break into the business park before stealing a safe filled with log books and MOT certificates for 110 cars.

Robert Watts, joint owner of the business based at Pentlow, said: “We are out of action because of this. Every single car will now need a new log book and MOT certificate before it can be driven away. Up until this happened we had been selling about 15 cars a week so the cost to us is massive.”

Mr Watts said costs could top �10,000 – including �5,000 for new security systems which are currently being installed.

“They used blow torches to open the gates to the business park and the gates our own premises before axing through the front door and then cutting a hole behind the safe so they could unbolt it and remove it. We never leave any cash inside so all they stole were the documents, which is actually worse,” he said.

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Further damage was caused when the thieves dropped the safe onto a classic Bentley car owned Mr Watt’s business partner Jonathan Smith.

Mr Watts has been told it could take up to six weeks for new documents to be released by the DVLA. “We are hoping they can be fast-tracked but either way this has been a massive set back for us,” he said.

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The crime’s impact would hit up to a dozen local companies who carry out work on their cars before being sold.

Essex Police appealed to anyone who may have seen suspicious activity in Pentlow between 6pm last Thursday and 6am the next day. Anyone with information should call Pc Ben Savory at Halstead police on 0300 3334444.

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