Large quantities of cash from selling of “clocked” high-mileage up-market cars were believed to have been spirited away to Zimbabwe.
The suspected Zimbabweans were arrested on allegations of fraud and money laundering in a joint operation by City and Holbeck police and Trading Standards.
The fraud involved buying high-mileage up-market cars at auction and turning back the mileometers before reselling them at inflated prices. It is thought some of the vehicles have been sold through trade publications and car dealers.
Officers raided five domestic and commercial premises across Leeds on Wednesday morning as part of the investigation. They swooped simultaneously looking for named suspects, cars with incorrect mileometer readings and items believed to be connected with fraud and other offences.
At an address on Old Lane, Beeston, a 31-year-old man and a 33-year-old woman were arrested.
In front of the house was a blue 2007-registered Audi S4 estate and a black VW 4×4 estate. In the driveway was a black Jaguar XK 4,2litre and parked on the road outside was a silver Audi A8 estate.
In another swoop on a terrace house in Kirkstall Mount, Kirkstall, a 32-year-old man was also detained. During the raid on car sales premises in Wortley, police forced their way into the office.
On display in the open compound were numerous Mercedes, BMWs including a convertible, a Range Rover and other up-market models.
Police photographed the cars and took details for checks on their history.
A large amount of vehicle documentation was seized along with a quantity of cash. Also recovered was paperwork relating to bank accounts.
Other addresses in Armley Road, Armley, and Roseville Road, Sheepscar, were also raided.
The investigation was partly sparked by the introduction of a new police policy in Holbeck and City Division where people arrested in connection with “acquisitive crime” are subjected to further checks. If they get positive results investigations under the Proceeds of Crime Act are triggered. — www.whyshouldthey.com,