My partner's Mini City was stolen from outside her house in Heston, Middlesex in May 2017. A neighbour's CCTV caught the entire theft and provided quite disturbing viewing.
Two men in a silver Volvo saloon pulled up at 1:30 am, and the passenger proceeded to force the door lock of the Mini, get into the car then he got a hacksaw out of the Volvo and sat there cutting through the steering wheel rim to get the Stoplock off. Once that was done, he snapped the steering lock, hitched up a towrope and they had it away.
We had the numberplate of the Volvo and good CCTV of one culprit but despite this there was little for the police to go on.
The Mini in question was a rather battered and very original 998 City so it certainly wasn't one of the more valuable Minis.
I kept a look out for it on the usual selling sites in the following months, along with any spares from this (very distinctive) car but had no joy.
We assumed it had been cut up or exported long ago.
Out of the blue, eerily exactly a year after it was taken (18th May 2018) my partner had a missed call and voicemail from the police asking her to ring them.
Turns out they stopped the Mini being driven in Cambridgeshire, reasons for this stop unknown but possibly no tax/insurance.
The guy driving gave a false name, so the officers investigated further, and found he was wanted for a string of offences, including aggravated burglary.
He was arrested, and when they checked the car, they discovered it was an outstanding stolen vehicle.
The numberplates had been changed, but very little else.
The broken ignition barrel has been replaced with a secondhand one from an earlier Mini to enable them to start and drive it.
The original seats have been discarded in favour of what look like Mayfair ones.
The original hubcaps have been replaced with later trims.
It's had a knock on the offside rear and will need a new bumper.
All my partner's stickers and parking permits have been removed, including the anti-theft window etching stickers which had been on since new (these must have been hard to shift)
Apart from that it just looks really dirty and down-at-heel, with flat paint and several new areas of rust coming through. Like it's been kept somewhere damp for the last year.
Despite this, we think the mileage is less than 500 miles more than when it was stolen.
We have submitted an offer in writing to the insurance company for the car, on the strength of a few photos and a brief engineer's report.