Man lost £15,000 vehicle in documents scam

Car buyers have been warned to be vigilant about stolen vehicle documents after a Norfolk man had a £15,000 4x4 seized by police. The man had bought the Toyota Landcruiser in Leicester in May after seeing it for sale on a website, and checked whether it was taxed and had a DVLA logbook.

Car buyers have been warned to be vigilant about stolen vehicle documents after a Norfolk man had a £15,000 4x4 seized by police.

The man had bought the Toyota Landcruiser in Leicester in May after seeing it for sale on a website, and checked whether it was taxed and had a DVLA logbook.

After exchanging the cash at what he believed to be the vendor's home, he then notified the DVLA of the change in ownership. But then its status as a suspected stolen vehicle was revealed - prompting police to seize the Toyota.

The victim of the scam said: “The main point for me is that I felt I had taken all the necessary precautions - I'd done an HPI check, I went to the man's home and checked the logbook, I thought I'd done enough to cover myself.

“It's not as if I went to the side of the road and gave someone a fistful of cash, no questions asked - I am an upstanding person, I work hard, I run a business and nothing like this has ever happened to me before.

“But now I find myself £15,000 out of pocket, and I've been without a vehicle for five weeks, which been extremely inconvenient.”

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The “car cloning” scam which this man fell foul of is one which Norfolk police and the DVLA have been publicising for some months following the theft of a batch of vehicle registration certificates last year.

Several thousand documents were stolen and are in circulation in the UK and have appeared in Norfolk.

Specialist vehicle crime officer Det Con Chris Woodcock said: “Most of the vehicles which are cloned tend to be 4x4s and they are often advertised at a price which is under the going rate so they tend to sell like hot cakes.

“In this particular man's case we found that the vehicle was stolen from Hertfordshire and was sold with only one key, again a feature we tend to find in these cases.

“Our advice would be that if you are going to buy privately then you must take someone with you who knows what they are doing and if a vehicle seems to be too good to be true, it probably is and you should walk away from it.”

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