Up to 50,000 cars meant to be scrapped under a German scrappage scheme have been illegally sold abroad instead, the country’s police union says.
Lax controls, criminal gangs and a poor scrap metal market have been blamed for the cars being transported for sale in Africa and eastern Europe, reported BBC News.
The government has launched an inquiry into the alleged abuse.
Under the scheme, drivers receive €2,500 (£2,150) if they scrap their old car and buy a new one.
Germany's criminal police union, the BDK, said the abuse affects up to 10% of cars that should have been scrapped.
Police say they recently found a container in the port of Hamburg which was crammed with more than 40 old cars bound for Africa.
According to police, the owners had already received the government subsidy under the scrappage scheme, but instead of being destroyed the cars ended up in the hands of criminal gangs who sold them on.