Police have busted a stolen car ring in Counties Manukau.

Police said they had gathered intelligence relating to a mechanic's business and it had become clear that it was an illegal car ring.

They recovered 12 stolen cars and arrested a number of people who were charged with receiving stolen goods and theft offences.

Inspector Neil Fisher said the operation was a reminder to make sure people were taking their cars to legitimate mechanics.

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"These illegal operators have been replacing the engines of legitimate customers with stolen ones as well as changing number plates and VIN numbers," he said.

Police said the recent warrants had been part of an ongoing operation.