Bogus buyers steal car worth £22,500

PUBLISHED: 06:25 02 November 2006 | UPDATED: 09:58 31 May 2010

AUDACIOUS thieves posed as prospective buyers to steal a high-performance car from a man in Debden on Sunday (October 29). The car owner, from Purton End, had been advertising his £22,500 black Audi RS4 Avant Quattro for sale and had arranged to have the

AUDACIOUS thieves posed as prospective buyers to steal a high-performance car from a man in Debden on Sunday (October 29).

The car owner, from Purton End, had been advertising his £22,500 black Audi RS4 Avant Quattro for sale and had arranged to have the car viewed at around 7.15pm.

Three men turned up to view the car. While one distracted the owner with conversation, another jumped into the Audi and drove off.

He was followed by his accomplices, who fled in a dark-coloured Subaru Impreza that the men arrived in.

The Impreza, which was later abandoned in Newport, had been stolen earlier that day from South Mimms in Hertfordshire. It was recovered by police and later forensically examined.

One of the men was described as white, overweight, 5ft 11in, in his mid-20s, with dark, short hair and an Irish accent.

Another was also white and about 5ft 11in, in his early 20s, with dark, neck-length hair and a thin face with pronounced cheekbones. He spoke with a southern accent and wore a dark shell-suit. The third man wore a baseball cap.

Karen Parry, from whatcar.co.uk said it is imperative to consider your own security when letting prospective buyers look at your vehicle.

"You should aim to meet buyers at your home in daylight hours to give them plenty of opportunity to examine the car thoroughly and help keep you safe," she said.

"If you feel vulnerable, ask a friend or relative to be with you when people come to look at the car.

"Never allow a potential buyer to drive your car without you; when it is time for the test drive, get into the passenger seat before handing over the keys."

Her tips were echoed by Essex police's crime reduction advisor Peter Caulfield who also raised another ploy.

He said: "When the purchaser is the driver, never under any circumstances get out to investigate any strange noises that he or she has identified.

"It has been known for thieves to use this ploy to get the owner out of the car, which they then drive away."

He also suggested only accepting cash and using a counterfeit money detector pen available from good stationers.

The Audi that was stolen would have been worth around £50,000 new. It is one of the German company's fastest products, reaching 60mph from standstill in 4.8 seconds.

Anyone who saw the thieves or who has any information that could help police should call them the station on 01799 513232.

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