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. Well known from TV and radio, Michael has been writing, presenting and judging cars since the mid 90's. He is a renowned Producer/Director and documentary film maker. Dozens of credits include: The Whole Way Round (Gay Byrne), The Shamrock Run (Alan Shortt), The Viking Run (Clodagh McKenna) and The Irish 66ers (David Mitchell) and The Climb for Kids (Colin Farrell). Print credits include: the RTE Guide (motoring editor 1999-2003), many national daily papers and Sundays including The Irish Times (freelance) plus other magazines. National radio credits include multiple at RTE Gerry Ryan show, the Mooney Show, The Dave Fanning Show, Drivetime etc. TV credits as a motoring expert include RTE's flagship current affairs show Primetime and TV3's Ireland AM. Michael also presented RTE's car show Drive! in the late 90s and directed some items in MPH2 on TG4. Michael contributes weekly on motoring issues to The Last Word show with Matt Cooper on Today FM. Michael has 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 18 years and is a former Chairperson of the Association of Professional Motoring Press (APMP).

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