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Car buyers warned of clone risk

"Cloned" cars are still being sold illegally to genuine buyers who stand to lose their vehicle and their money.

Criminals clone cars by using stolen vehicle documents to change the identity of a stolen vehicle to match that of a legitimate car.

As many as 1,300 cloned vehicles, worth more than £13 million, have been recovered since 2006, according to the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo).

It is thought that the cloned-vehicle problem could be far greater than this, as more than 100,000 stolen registration documents are still in circulation.

The problem was highlighted today, at the start of car crime awareness week, by Acpo and by car-buying assistance organisation CarEnquiry.co.uk.

Paul Boddington, founder of CarEnquiry.co.uk, said: "Buyers are at greater risk from cloned cars than ever before and it's clear those cars recovered are just the tip of the iceberg.

"Today, it really is 'buyer beware', with established dealers the best way to stay safe."

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AA president Edmund King said: "Car buying is fraught with pitfalls, from rogue traders to car cloning and forged documents. It always pays to shop with your head, not your heart, and deal only with those who can deliver you genuine cars, from accredited dealers."

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