Land Rover and Range Rover owners are on high alert in the UK after police launched an sting on criminal gangs targeting those cars to steal LED headlights for use in cannabis farms.
Police in West Yorkshire have made 14 arrests and recovered a number of stolen parts, the UK's Daily Telegraph reports, with the explanation given for older Land Rover and Range Rover models being targeted coming down to ease of theft: light assemblies are said to be removed in about one minute.
Cities including Bradford, Halifax and Huddersfield have seen cars targeted, with police launching Operation Emporia to warn drivers of the prestige SUVs of the danger. According to the report, the headlights - along with other parts - are being sold to repairers and owners, while some are being used to grow marijuana. The powerful LEDs are said to help the plants grow more rapidly. Read more about how LED lights work here.
“Working closely with manufacturers, we have been stopping certain vehicles fitted with LED headlamps to ensure they are legitimate,” said chief inspector Steve Thomas, elaborating that owners found to have newly fitted lights will need to provide proof of purchase.
“If we stop a vehicle and it is suspected that it is fitted with stolen parts then these will be removed and the owner of the vehicle could face prosecution.”
A Land Rover spokesperson told the paper: "We are aware of the reported thefts of headlamps on older models of Range Rover Sport. All Range Rover models have and continue to meet the insurance industry requirements as tested and agreed with relevant insurance bodies."