Police are urging anyone selling a second hand car to be on the lookout for two men who’ve visited homes in Dorset and tried to scam sellers out of thousands of pounds.
It’s believed they are deliberately distracting the sellers, tampering with the vehicles to create a fault and then asking for a large reduction in price.
Poured oil into the radiator
Dorset Police say that one of the incidents happened during the evening of Monday 11th July 2022 in New Road, Ferndown after the owners had advertised their car for sale with a sign on the driveway.
Two men came to the address and while the bonnet was open one of them distracted the seller. It’s believed that the other man poured oil into the radiator. The owner subsequently discovered that the car had a fault.
The two men were very sympathetic and offered to still buy the vehicle, but for thousands of pounds below the asking price.
Dorset Police say that fortunately, the car owner refused and sought advice from a registered garage and the fault was easily remedied at relatively low cost.
Black smoke came out of the exhaust pipe
The second incident happened on the same day between 4.15 pm and 5 pm in Camel Green Road in Alderholt near Fordingbridge.
A man phoned the seller of a car advertised on Autotrader and asked to see the vehicle. Two men arrived at the address and during the viewing distracted the couple who were trying to sell the car.
During a test drive the vehicle then showed an electrical fault and black smoke came out of the exhaust pipe.
Dorset Police say that luckily, a neighbour had witnessed part of the interaction and had seen one of the men pouring liquid into the bonnet area and came out to inform the sellers.
The two men then quickly left the area in a car, which had a Romanian number plate. One of the men is described as in his early 30s, about five feet eleven inches tall, of big build and with dark hair.
“I would like to alert our communities to this type of scam”
Police community support investigator Millie Vaughan, of Dorset Police, said:
“These two incidents were very similar in nature and I would like to alert our communities to this type of scam to avoid anyone else falling victim.
“I am keen to hear from anyone who might have further information about the offenders or has been approached in similar circumstances.
“Also, I would advise anyone selling or planning to sell their car to be aware of anyone operating as described and to report anything suspicious to police.”
Contact Dorset Police
Alternatively, independent charity Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously online at Crimestoppers-uk.org or by calling Freephone 0800 555 111.