Buying Dream Bike or Nightmare!

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The rise of UK imported vehicles to Ireland is unstoppable but be wary of deals that are too good to be true.

Tracker has issued some great advice for anyone thinking of buying their dream machine: With as many as one in 12 of the 37 million vehicles (all types) on UK roads likely to have cloned registration plates, stolen motorcycle recovery expert, Tracker, is putting the spot light on bike cloning. Whilst vehicle cloning is most commonly associated with cars, it is increasingly being used to hide the identity of stolen motorcycles. Over 26,000 motorcycles are stolen every year in the UK, which are often used in serious criminal offences such as burglaries and robberies.

Cloning is the vehicle equivalent of identity fraud – criminals steal a motorbike or scooter and give it a new identity copied from a similar make and model bike already on the road. The criminal disguises the unique 17 digit Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on the stolen motorcycle and uses a stolen V5/logbook to try to legitimise its identity. A vehicle with a cloned identity is all the more difficult for the police to identify, and in turn, easier for the thief to sell on.

Andy Barrs, Head of Police Liaison at Tracker, “Fraudsters continue to use more sophisticated methods to hide the true identity of stolen motorcycles and then sell them on to innocent buyers who think they’re getting a dream bike at a bargain price. The majority of bikes that are stolen (in the UK) are less than 3 years old and a staggering 80% of all cloned motorcycles end up in the dealer network.

“£12.5 million (€13.9m) worth of stolen vehicles were recovered by Tracker last year alone, but there remain a significant number of stolen vehicles circulating on the UK’s roads, including motorbikes. For every 5 motorcycles and scooters stolen in the UK this year, only two are expected to be recovered. Although a good number of motorcycles are stolen to order or for their parts, many are sold at a low price to entice consumers into parting with their cash.”

Fraudsters use cloning to sell a stolen motorcycle for a quick profit, so buyers should look out for a great looking bike with a ‘too good to be true’ price tag. Check its market value and avoid anything that’s being offered for less than 70% of that price. No legitimate seller will want to lose money on a sale. Buyers should never pay cash only for a vehicle, particularly if they are paying more than £3000 (€3,354). Most crooks would rather walk away from a sale than take a payment that can be traced back to them.

Andy Barrs concludes, “Whilst a tracking device won’t stop a motorbike being stolen, it can significantly increase the chances of the police locating and returning it to its rightful owner. Without any SVR protection, the probability of a stolen bike being offered for sale as a clone is greatly increased.”

Unlike other devices, Tracker’s unique technology can locate stolen vehicles anywhere, even when they are hidden in a garage or shipping container. The firm has been reuniting motorcycle lovers with their vehicles for nearly 25 years, and it’s this expertise which makes Tracker the leader in stolen vehicle recovery. Tracker systems work like an electronic homing device. A covert transmitter is hidden in one of a number of places around the bike. Crucially, there is no visible aerial, so the thief won’t even know it’s there.

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About Author

Michael Sheridan

Michael is Motorhub's Editor. He is a famous face in Ireland having worked on RTE Television since 1990, firstly as a young people's TV presenter. His motoring CV took off in the mid 90's. Initially responsible for motoring content with RTE's daytime TV dept. he went on to present the RTE TV car show Drive! for 4 seasons. He has worked as a Producer/Director and Executive Producer on numerous motoring television shows in Ireland and Internationally including The Whole Way Round, The Shamrock Run, The Viking Run and The Irish 66ers to name just a few - many raised much needed funds for children's hospitals in Ireland. In print and radio his credits include the RTE Guide as motoring editor from 1999-2003, he transferred to RTE on line where he set up and edited the Motors section until mid 2015. His print credits are too many to list but include National daily (Irish Times) and Sunday newspapers, magazines, radio (multiple RTE radio shows including contributing editor with the Gerry Ryan show & The Mooney Show, plus guest he is a contributor to Tubridy, The Dave Fanning Show, Drivetime etc. Michael contributes weekly on Today FM on The Last Word with Matt Cooper. Michael has also represented Ireland's motoring journalists in Motorsport at the International Mazda MX-5 endurance race series in Italy and the Arctic Ice Race. He has been a Car of the Year Judge for over 17 years and is the current Chairperson of the association of professional motoring press (APMP).

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