Gardai in Granard, Co Longford, are investigating an organised crime gang involved in the international sale and distribution of stolen machinery and vehicle engines and parts. They are specifically alerting owners of Ford Transit vans.
The scam works as follows: Advertisements are placed on popular online sales sites offering to repair or replace the engines of Ford Transit vans. The advert offers to collect the van from any part of the country, carry out repairs or, if necessary, replace the engine with a reconditioned one, and once repaired to return it to the owner.
In reality what happens is that once the scammer has the van, an engine stolen in Ireland or the UK is fitted to the van and the owner is told it is a re-conditioned one. As a result, some owners, after paying out for repairs to their van, have subsequently had their vans seized by gardaí for investigations which causes them further loss.
Gardaí from the Roscommon/Longford Division are advising owners of all vehicles and particularly the owners of Ford Transit vans to be wary responding to such adverts whether online or offline offering engine replacement on a collect and return basis.
An Garda Siochana’s advice is that car owners should only allow a qualified mechanic in a garage that they know to repair a car or van.