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Vehicle theft up 7%

A car key electronically opening a carAccording to latest figures from the Home Office, vehicle-related crime is on the increase.

Thefts have risen by 7 per cent in the year up to September 2011, according to the latest Crime in England and Wales Quarterly Update.

This bring the number of vehicle-related thefts to over 1.2 million in the period.

In light of these figures, vehicle history checkers HPI are advising car buyers to be on alert for motor fraud, and take steps to reduce the risk of buying a cloned or stolen vehicle.

Minimise the risk of buying a stolen car

According to Kristian Welch, consumer director for HPI: “The Home Office figures show that vehicle-related thefts increased by 7 per cent, which means there are potentially more stolen vehicles out on the road.

And our figures show that 1 in 3 cars checked with HPI have something to hide, confirming the dangers of buying something with a suspect history.

“Motorists need to consider the risks they face as buyers, not just car owners.

Buying a car that has been stolen could see them left seriously out of pocket. One of the best lines of defence against this spike in car crime is to do an HPI Check, and help minimise the risk.”

Things to look out for and tips for your protection

  • Check the seller’s ID to ensure it is the registered keeper that is selling the car
  • Check that VIN/chassis numbers on the car match one another, and haven’t been tampered with
  • Meet the seller at their home – don’t meet in a lay-by or public car park
  • Never allow the seller of the car to come to you
  • Check service and MOT history for consistency
  • Do a HPI check, and ensure the information and V5 registration document provided match

The HPI check will confirm whether the car has been reported stolen, written-off, or has been purchased on finance. Buyers are also protected with the HPI Guarantee.

This provides up to £30,000 financial reimbursement in the event of the car not being all that it appears.

Protect your car from being stolen

Equally, it makes sense to minimise the risk of your car being stolen in the first place. Read our article featuring 10 insider tips for beating car thieves and watch the video below on how to protect your car.

The sensible last line of defence is to compare car insurance and ensure you're adequately protected.

And, though we hope you won’t have to, you can find a list of all our car insurance providers here if you need to contact them over a claim.

On a lighter note, some car thieves are less discerning about what vehicle they steal, like this irresponsible young chap who stole an ambulance on New Year's Eve.

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Owe Carter

Owe Carter

Owe Carter has been a consumer interest writer for since 2007. His career as a scribe began in local press, which saw him hunting ghosts, taking challenges from readers, living as B.A. Baracus for a week, and seeking out Pembrokeshire’s happiest dog.

Twitter: @ConfusedOwe
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