30 Jul 2003

Stolen vehicles, used by Solomons police, returned to car yard

3:12 pm on 30 July 2003

Four 4-wheel drive vehicles, stolen from a dealership in Honiara at the height of the Solomon Islands coup three years ago, were returned to the yard today.

They were returned by the police officers who have been using the vehicles around the capital for the past three years.

The utes were new when stolen and had price tags of up to 170 thousand Solomon Islands dollars.

David Hayward, the manager of Ela Motors, says they have been returned in varying states of disrepair.

"One has had an accident and is being repaired, so that one is not as good as the others,.... one of them is fairly good, it's a Land Cruiser - that one was valued at 176 thousand (Solomon Islands dollars)...It's probably worth 80-to-100 thousand at the moment, but 80 thousand more so than the 100,.... that one has been looked after fairly well, but the other three are not quite as good, you're likely to get 20-percent value on them."

The return of the vehicles comes after police were ordered to return stolen property and guns in their possession, following the arrival of the intervention force a week ago.