A car wash in St Helens was one of two premises raided in an operation involving Merseyside Police, St Helens Council, the UK Border Force and Trading Standards.

Local reports identified Express Hand Car Wash on Pocket Nook Street and Jackson Street Tyres on Jackson Street as the premises where Merseyside Police executed warrants as part of an operation to crack down on suspected criminals believed to be involved in selling stolen cars and car parts.

Neighbourhood officers from St Helens along with specialist officers from the force’s Vehicle Crime Group are continuing to search the premises and said they had located what they believe to be six stolen cars at the location which were in various stages of being broken up. A further quantity of suspected stolen car parts has also been recovered.

One man was arrested on suspicion of theft and later released on police bail, a second was arrested on an unrelated matter and three further men at the premises, believed to be working in the country illegally, were spoken to by the UK Border Agency.

Neighbourhood Inspector for St Helens, Dave Brennan, said: “Today’s operation is the culmination of many weeks of police work across the area.

“Criminals involved in the sale of stolen cars and associated parts are unscrupulous individuals who think nothing of lining their pockets at the expense of honest, hard-working members of the public. Anyone who has had their vehicle stolen will know how upsetting and inconvenient it can be and people who have bought a previously stolen car often end up losing their money or driving round in vehicles which can be death traps.

“As well as profiting from other people’s misfortune, people who sell on stolen cars or break them up to sell spares often have links to serious and organised crime and are making lives easier for people to commit offences across Merseyside.

“I would appeal to anyone with information about vehicle or any other types of crime in St Helens to come forward and contact us. This operation should reassure the public that we will take pro-active action on all the information that we receive.”

People can call officers via the 101 number or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.