Nurse becomes third victim of 'car cannibalism' in same Birmingham cul-de-sac in just a week

  • ITV News Central Journalist Rosie Dowsing speaks to Samantha Rose about being a victim of car crime.

A nurse from Birmingham is waiting to hear from mechanics if she can ever drive her car again, after it was targeted by 'car cannibals.'

Samantha Rose, who lives in Water Mill Close in Selly Oak, awoke to the sound of a van driving away from her car at approximately 2am on Monday 30 January.

She looked out of her bedroom window to discover the car bonnet missing, windows smashed, lights and parts taken, and her number plate snapped on the floor.

Samantha said: "I was gutted, it was heart wrenching, I would rather them taken the whole car than to see it destroyed."

It was one of three similar incidents, in the same cul-de-sac, in just a week.

Samantha's neighbours car was stripped on Thursday 26 January, just four days before hers was targeted.

Another vehicle in the same vicinity was broken into the day after, on Friday 27 January.

It comes a month after a woman's car was stripped for parts in a Digbeth car park while she attended a concert nearby.

Samantha Rose said she was 'devastated' to see her car stripped of parts while she slept. Credit: Samantha Rose

West Midlands Police says its Vehicle Crime Taskforce is working round the clock to tackle the rising problem of 'car cannibalism' which could be caused by the current shortage of car parts.

Detective Superintendent Jim Munroe, who heads up the taskforce, said:

"What we've seen over the last 12-24 months now is an increase in vehicle crime, particularly theft of motor vehicles, and that is being caused by what we believe to be a part shortage and the supply issues after the pandemic.

"Also, with the war with Russia in Ukraine, a lot of parts are made in those countries, so there is a delay which causes a lull in the market."

Samantha says many of her NHS colleagues in the local hospital have also been victims of car crimes, which makes life even harder for those already under strain from the winter healthcare pressures.

"Its being done in broad daylight, while they're doing a 13 hour shift they're coming out at night and their cars have been stripped.

"Obviously the staffing at the moment is horrendous, we've got all the pressures from the NHS, and this has just had a knock on effect with all of that really."

West Midlands Police says it has stepped up patrols in the area and is using community intelligence to track down criminals.

Last week, the force made 58 arrests for vehicle-related crimes in the West Midlands.

Dept Supt Jim Munroe said: "We understand that it is a neighbourhood crime that affects lots of people.

"But I will give them the reassurance that we are taking it very seriously, we are acting on intelligence, and we are arresting people and putting them through the courts.

"This week alone we have put somebody in through the courts that we believe is responsible for the theft of 112 motor vehicles, so the team are working really hard."

Samantha says the police have been helpful so far. But she worries this keeps happening to innocent and hardworking people.

"I don't blame the police, because I know they've got more serious crimes. But something needs to be done. It's the police that need to do that - not us, the general public."

In a statement about Samantha Rose's case, West Midlands Police said:

"We received a report at around 2.15am (Mon 30 January) that parts of a car were stolen from Water Mill Close, Selly Oak. Theft of parts from a second car in the same road was also reported to us at about 8.30am on 27 January.

"The Selly Oak neighbourhood team are carrying out regular patrols and anyone with CCTV or any information can contact us. Please get in touch via Live Chat or call 101, quoting investigation 20/134267/23 or 20/126838/23."