Over 1,000 stolen vehicles have been recovered. / policía

Over 1,000 vehicles recovered and 230 people arrested in massive police operation

National Police officers in Spain were involved in the international operation in which cars, lorries and motorbikes - worth over 35 million euros - were recovered

COLPISA Madrid

National Police officers from Spain have taken part in a massive operation coordinated by Interpol which involved the police authorities in 77 countries. More than 1,000 stolen vehicles have been recovered and 230 people arrested worldwide.

In Spain, officers have arrested 86 people - Algeciras (9), Alicante (24), La Junquera (1), Madrid (45) and Malaga (7) - and seized 191 vehicles in the same locations. The value of the recovered vehicles, which had all been stolen within a two-week period, is more than 35 million euros.

As part of the same macro-operation, the police also seized documentation and 48,000 stolen cigarettes.

The investigation began after routine inspections were carried out at border controls, car dealers, scrapyards and mechanical workshops. These flagged up a large number of vehicles which had been reported stolen and a huge amount of parts ready to be sold on the black market. This led to further investigations into criminal organisations around the world.

One crime to finance another

Stolen vehicles are often sold to finance other crimes such as corruption and trafficking of drugs, weapons and people, so Interpol analysed the information uncovered by this investigation to check for links with other crimes, and that led them to gangs which were known to them in other countries.

Those who have been arrested so far are charged with a number of offences, including membership of a criminal gang, vehicle theft, misappropriation, forging documents and receiving stolen goods.