Greater Manchester Police have made fifteen arrests following an investigation into the sale of stolen cars through vehicle trading websites. The cars were sold to innocent buyers, sometimes within hours of being stolen.
The police targeted twenty five addresses in Rochdale and Tameside and arrested seven men and eight women aged between 25 and 40 on suspicion of conspiracy to steal, conspiracy to commit burglary and conspiracy to launder the money made from the thefts. They remain in custody for questioning after the police were granted extra time to interview them. During the raids police also recovered four cars worth around £100,000 and a large quantity of controlled drugs.
Police investigated the scam where registration number plates are obtained and then used to make stolen vehicles look genuine. They are then sold to members of the public using online websites such as Auto Trader.
Superintendent Alan Lyon said: “Today’s action follows a sensitive and thoroughly planned police operation into what we believe is an active organised criminal network trying to launder cash from stolen cars. Scams like this can have a lasting impact on victims. Today’s action shows Greater Manchester Police is taking a firm view on tacking burglary and its causes.”
Buyers have been urged to avoid purchasing a vehicle via a cash transaction and also to be wary of a vehicle when they come across what seems to be an appealing price. Online car websites do take fraud extremely seriously and will work in any way they can with the police to keep their users safe from scams. Anyone thinking of conducting a cash deal is advised to conduct all the necessary checks beforehand. Many innocent victims are not aware of any wrong doing until they start looking for motor insurance quotes. Anyone unsure should take a look around the online websites as they will provide comprehensive guidelines and safety recommendations to help buyers make sure the seller is reputable.