Police have raided scrap metal dealers believed to be responsible for taking stolen cars from Harrow and Brent.
Cops swooped on the scrap yards across West London, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire today (Thursday) as part of a major operation.
Superintendent Matthew Gardner, of MPS Harrow Borough, who was in charge of the operation, said: "In recent months boroughs in West London have seen a rise in the theft of cars with a lower value, generally pre 1998."
"Whilst out on patrol, officers noticed a car they weren't happy with, they made checks whilst they followed it and established that the car was stolen, it just hadn't yet been reported to police.
"The car was taken to a scrap yard and sold for scrap. Officers later searched the yard and found £28,000 in cash stashed around the office. It became clear that cars where being stolen purely to be sold for scrap fuelling the theft of cars in the borough.
Police say the thefts were haphazard, with many being opportunistic.
Mr Gardner said: "By targeting the dealers the aim is to make it difficult, if not impossible, to get rid of these stolen cars and therefore their worth becomes very little and no longer considered a source of income by the criminal.
"This is only the first day of action we will continue to visit scrap yards on a regular basis to ensure that they are operating within the law and the conditions of their licences."
Should offences be discovered, prosecution will be considered, the business could be closed, licences to trade will be withdrawn, accounts frozen and where appropriate proceeds of crime will be seized.