Drug gangs target Range Rover lightsComment on this story
London, England - Gangs are stealing headlights from Range Rovers and Land Rovers for use in cannabis factories.
The £800 (R13 000) units have very bright lights but radiate less heat than conventional 12-volt lights, which means their use in the illicit indoor farms is harder to detect.
Police are investigating a spate of thefts of the LED and xenon lights from Range Rovers and Land Rovers across Britain; they believe the vehicles are being targeted because their headlight units can be removed within a minute.
The biggest number of thefts have been in West Yorkshire, the West Midlands, Staffordshire and Shropshire. As well as being used by drug gangs, the lights and other luxury car parts are sold for spares on websites.
In Bradford, Halifax and Huddersfield, a police task force is stopping Range Rovers to check the lights are not stolen. It has made 14 arrests and recovered a large number of stolen parts.
Michael Roper, 53, who runs a pub in Oxenhope, West Yorkshire, had the lights and grille stolen from his Range Rover Sport in april by thieves who used a crowbar, causing £8000 (R140 000) damage.
He said he knew of at least 40 other cases where Range Rovers had been targeted.
Police have urged owners to fit anti-theft devices or park head-on to a wall to block access to the lights.
Land Rover said it was aware of thefts of headlights from some older models but insisted all its Range Rover models met insurance industry requirements.