A Range Rover believed to be stolen by thieves specialising in stealing keyless cars has been found by police on a ship destined for Kenya.

Officers from the Metropolitan Police found the car, understood to have been taken from Epsom, in containers at the Port of Felixstowe in Suffolk on Tuesday.

The discovery comes after the launch of the Met’s Operation Endeavour - a response to a rise in the theft of motor vehicles in London.

Keyless theft involves thieves using a device to bypass a car’s electronics, allowing them to drive away without the owner’s keys.

In October, 44 stolen cars worth £1.2m, including some from Surrey and London, were found stuffed inside storage containers ready to be shipped overseas at ports around the country.

This week, as a result of coordinated activity to tackle the crime, 84 people have been arrested including 16 on suspicion of motor vehicle theft.

As well as the seizure of five Land Rover Range Rovers, hundreds of vehicle parts have been recovered, believed to have been stolen and destined for sale abroad, at Felixstowe.

As well as the one stolen from Epsom, the other cars are believed to have been taken from South Woodford and Islington.

Hundreds of vehicle parts including engines were found in other containers destined for Cyrpus.

It is believed the parts - some of which appear to belong to 12 BMWs stolen from east London - would have been exported on to other countries to be sold according to police.

No arrests have yet been made in relation to the containers and enquiries and searches are ongoing.

Detective Chief Superintendent Carl Bussey, lead for Operation Endeavour, said: "We began opening the containers on Tuesday.

"They are so jammed with cars and vehicle parts that we are still extracting the contents.

"In one container, bikes, also believed stolen, were packed around vehicle parts to disguise the true contents of the container from any inspectors."

Detective Inspector Wayne Cooke, of the ACPO Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (AVCIS), added: "AVCIS has been supporting our Metropolitan Police Service colleagues with our ports intelligence unit staff identifying opportunities for examining and recovering vehicles and vehicle parts stolen through keyless methods.

"As part of this campaign we have successfully disrupted a number of high value vehicles heading to overseas countries.

"Recovering vehicles such as these in Operation Endeavour offers opportunities for further investigation with particular emphasis in tackling organised crime groups involved in vehicle criminality.

"This sends the clearest message to criminals that agencies are working together to tackle keyless offending and put the fear of crime back onto the criminal."

Yesterday, local operations to stop and check cars by the Met, Surrey, Kent, Essex, Hampshire and Thames Valley police, resulted in 16 people being arrested for car theft.

A further 68 people were arrested for offences including possession of offensive weapons, burglary, money laundering and driving while disqualified.