Would-be car thieves target people selling their cars.

Anyone selling a car, particularly at the higher end of the market, is advised to watch out if a potential buyer asks to check the keys, as thieves are swapping working remote key fobs with non-functioning sets in order to steal vehicles.

Thieves show an interest in buying vehicles that are advertised for sale on AutoTrader and other local selling pages. Whilst examining the car, they ask to look at the spare keys. they then distract the seller and swap the spare keys for a fake set, which they return to the seller

On Friday last week (January 22) A Silver Mercedes Benz E250 AMG was stolen from HANGERFIELD CT, Northampton,the vehicle was advertised and two men went to view the car. One of the men asked the owner for the manual spare key to check it was working. The Mercedes had an electronic fob with a metal key which could be used manually in case of electronic failure.
The seller later discovered the remote key would not operate and was a different one from the original handed over to the buyer.

Anyone who is selling a car either online or in traditional publications please be aware of the distraction technique.

There is a very clever distinctive scam happening in which rogue buyers are removing a set of keys and replacing them with another set which does not work. The offenders are then leaving with the functioning set and plan to return to steal the vehicle.

Please don’t be conned in this way and don’t hand over keys to an unknown person, instead demonstrate how they work yourself. If you have any suspicions about the legitimacy of a would-be purchaser please follow your instincts, keep hold of your property and call Northants Police

If you require any further information or advice please feel free to contact a member of the Northampton Neighbourhood policing team on 101 or NeighbourhoodTeamNorthampton@northants.pnn.police.uk

If you have any information in relation to anyone involved in vehicle crime, please contact us on 101. You can also provide confidential information should you wish to remain anonymous. These calls can be made to the Independent Charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

In an emergency, when there is a crime in progress or a life at risk, always call 999.To report a crime or incident, provide information or for advice, call 101 or visit www.northants.police.uk

You can also provide confidential information should you wish to remain anonymous. These calls can be made to the Independent Charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visit www.crimestoppers-uk.org

To contact your Neighbourhood Team covering Northampton, they can be contacted on the following email: NeighbourhoodTeamNorthampton@northants.pnn.police.uk

You can also follow the team on Twitter: @NptonPolice & Facebook: Northampton Neighbourhood Policing Team