Figures show vehicle theft has risen by nearly a third in the last three years and TRACKER is urging used car buyers to be vigilant when on the hunt for a bargain.
In 2016 over 85,000 vehicles were stolen, which could lead to a rise in the number of cars being cloned and offered for sale by unscrupulous thieves. The 30 per cent rise is partly attributable to weaknesses in modern vehicle security systems and more thieves using high-tech means to steal vehicles.
There are serious consequences if you are caught driving a stolen car. Andy Barrs of Tracker says ‘’If you are pulled over by the police who check the vehicle and discover it to be stolen, you could face being arrested for either theft or handling stolen goods. Even once you’ve proved you are an innocent purchaser, you still stand to lost both the car and the money you paid for it because you are not the legal owner and your insurance policy is unlikely to cover this scenario’’
If anyone is in the market for a used car there are a number of checks they should carry out when viewing a potential purchase.
Top tips to avoid buying a stolen vehicle:
– Registration plates – if these appear new, buyers should ask why they have been replaced as it could be disguising the cars true identity.
– Keys – Check that both keys are present. A missing key could indicate the car has been stolen or could allow thieves to steal it in future if they have the second key.
– VIN number – check the vehicle identification number to see if it has been altered at all.
– Window markings – check these all match. If one is different it could have been replaced as a result of forced entry or a bid to remove its legal identity.
– Title and registration – check these to ensure they match the sellers name and address.
– Visit www.gov.uk/checks-when-buying-a-used-car to confirm the details given match the DVLA records and MOT information is up-to-date and correct.
– Do not pay cash – Anyone knowingly selling a stolen vehicle won’t take any form of payment that can be used to trace them.
Used car buyers should always be on their guard, especially if a deal seems too good to be true. If in doubt, walk away.