Some police sources reckon it could be as many as 65,000, others suggest less, but the general consensus is that tens of thousands have been successfully imported into Britain and been bought by innocent end-users who have no idea of their vehicle's chequered past. All of which means, that there could be tens of thousands of unsuspecting British consumers who could face losing both their car and the money they've paid for it.
In English law, good title always rests with the original owner, in this case the Japanese insurance companies who have paid out for thousands of stolen car claims. Some Japanese owners weren't even insured, but good title still rests with them and the UK police have a duty of care of protect the original owner's interests. Any stolen cars seized by the UK police are unlikely to be shipped back to Japan, but if the Japanese insurance company or owner can be located they may be sold here in special auctions and the monies raised repatriated to the Japanese owners and insurance companies concerned.
Sadly, many British buyers of Japanese grey imports could now face huge losses, which is why the BBC have set up this website to offer help and advice. I know that this all sounds terribly unfair and that the majority of UK buyers are completely innocent parties and that this is a fraud that has been carried out in a foreign country by foreign criminals. But if you've bought a second hand Japanese grey import and are concerned that yours could be stolen, please don't panic.