By Constantinos Psillides
SIX people were arrested yesterday in connection with the import and sale of stolen luxury cars from the U.K., police said.
The suspects, believed to be part of a larger criminal ring, are suspected of importing the stolen cars that arrived via Italy before selling them to unsuspecting buyers in Cyprus.
Five cars are believed to have been sold at a lot in Limassol: a BMW X3, a Mercedes and three Range Rovers. Investigators have located the BMW, while the other cars are still unaccounted for.
Four of the suspects, aged 22 to 46, were arrested in the Famagusta district, while two, 39 and 37, appearing as the owners of a car import company, were arrested in Limassol.
Police raided the company offices yesterday and found two left-hand drive Range Rovers. Upon closer inspection, the investigators discovered that the frame and engine serial numbers had been altered.
Limassol police spokesman Ioannis Soteriades said that Cyprus officers are working closely with Interpol to determine how the cars were stolen and imported to the island.
“We are determined to get to the bottom of this. The chief of police has instructed us to set up a task force which will look into all car imports that arrived under suspicious circumstances,” he said.
The two suspects from Limassol were expected to appear before court yesterday, while those arrested in the Famagusta district will probably appear in court today. The suspects are from Paralimni, Vrissoules village and Sotira village.
According to Larnaca police spokesperson Tasos Zachariou, the case came to light a month ago after British authorities contacted Cyprus police regarding a stolen vehicle.
The vehicle’s GPS was showing that the stolen car was in Cyprus. It was located by authorities and later discovered that it was imported from Italy via Greece. The vehicle had an Italian registration number which investigators found belonged to a vehicle that had been removed from circulation in 2010.