A Dundee businessman who lost £12,000 in a stolen car cloning scam has warned others to be vigilant when buying a new vehicle.
Gregor Lawson (46), of Diesel Fuel Systems on Peddie Street, travelled to Rugby in January to view a Hyundai Santa Fe he had seen advertised as a private sale.
After closely inspecting the vehicle and talking to its “owner,” Mr Lawson opted to go ahead with the deal unaware the car had been stolen and the property to which it was registered was taken out as a front on a short-term lease.
The registered keeper logbook attached to the car was in fact a stolen DVLA document, amended to look almost identical to the legitimate paperwork.
After around three months of waiting for the updated section of the document to come through the post, Mr Lawson went to the Dundee DVLA office, only to be told the car was stolen and would have to be taken by the police.
He said, “I saw the car at £12,000 and after speaking to the guy on the phone, he seemed genuine, so I drove down to Rugby to have a look at it.
“It looked okay, but turned out to be a stolen vehicle that had been cloned.
“When they came up to take the car away both the police and the DVLA said it was one of the best jobs they have ever seen.”
Criminal gangs are known to steal a car in order to change the identity to that of a bona fide vehicle by copying paperwork and the registration number.Nationwide investigationDespite a nationwide police investigation into this type of crime, Mr Lawson is not expecting to see any of his money back.
“The guy at the DVLA told me that 130,000 log books had fallen into the wrong hands and were being used to make the stolen vehicles look legitimate,” he said.
“I work in the motor trade and I couldn’t tell the difference, so it is important to let other people know so they don’t fall for it.”
Over the last two years the DVLA has issued a number of warnings to motorists to look out for stolen certificates when buying a vehicle.
If the serial number falls within the range BG 9167501 to BG 9214000 they are advised not to make the purchase.
On the Notification of Permanent Export (V5C/4) tear-off slip on the second page the fake documents look mauve on the front and pink on the reverse-legitimate documents should be mauve on both sides.