Three In Devon Purchase Stolen Cars

A warning has gone out to car buyers after three people unknowingly purchased stolen cars in Devon. Cloned vehicle fraud was involved in all three March cases, reported a Devon and Cornwall police spokesperson. Thieves conned the three victims out of £45,000 for Land Rovers that were stolen.

After paying in good faith, the three buyers discovered that the cards had false identification numbers and number-plates. Two of the vehicles were recovered in Cullompton and Umberleigh in early March. The other was later recovered in Dittisham.

Vehicle Investigations Officer PC Mark Humphries warned residents of Cornwall and Devon to be on alert.

Mr. Humphries reported that these deals begin with cars and their keys being stolen from homes. The vehicles are then put up for sale with false V5(c) log books and MOT certificates that pertain to non-stolen cars from other locations.

They include false tax discs, VINs, number plates, VIN stickers, and have forged service books, he said. It is also common for only one key to be included.

Individuals purchasing these vehicles usually do not realize they have been victims of a crime until too late. The situation is discovered when the faked documents are sent back to the DVLA. One way to prevent being duped is to be wary of vehicles priced below 70 percent of market value. In addition, if the seller has limited knowledge of the car or its history, this should raise a warning flag.

Sellers who require payment in cash should be investigated. Paying via banker’s draft adds a traceability feature to the transaction. The check will not identify whether a vehicle is a clone but it can show whether the car has been scrapped, written off, stolen, or if outstanding car finance exists.

Consumers can check through Experian, HPI, or Carwatch UK Ltd.