The police unit created just over a year ago with funding from the Finance and Leasing Association (FLA) has already recovered cars worth almost £4 million from companies and individuals who had fraudulently obtained lease vehicles.

In its first year of operation, the vehicle fraud unit of the Association of Chief Police Officers’ Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (AVCIS) recovered 289 cars worth £3.9m on behalf of FLA members and has arrested 158 people for the associated crimes.

AVCIS was established using private sector funding from the FLA, whose members provide finance to businesses for the purchase of cars.

In return for funding AVCIS, FLA members are able to report cars suspected as stolen or fraudulently obtained to the unit for investigation and recovery.

In just over a year, FLA members have seen an almost seven-fold return on their investment. As a result, the FLA has agreed to sponsor the unit for a further 12 months, allowing the unit to expand its operations.

"Not only are we recovering fraudulently-obtained vehicles for their legal owners, but we are sending a clear message to fraudsters," said the head of AVCIS, detective chief inspector Paul Lambotte.

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