Since June this year, car owners who tax their cars have been sent a new four-sided, white-bordered V5C registration document, also known as a logbook. It replaces the blue, two-sided V5 version.
Owners are being asked to destroy their old V5 documents on receipt of the V5C, but the AA fears that crooks will keep them to ‘legitimise’ other cars that have been stolen and cloned with false number plates and Vehicle Identification Numbers. Buyers who don't know which logbooks the cars should have will be duped, unless they match the date on a car's tax disc against the type of registration document presented by the seller.
The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency will only tell buyers if cars have been issued with new V5C registration document once they own the vehicles and pay an enquiry fee - which is often too late with a stolen car.
Richard Williams, general manager of AA Car Checking, says: "By July 2005, every car should have a new registration document and all old V5s will be invalid. This should end the stolen logbook episode that has fuelled a surge in car cloning this year. It should also be more difficult to forge a new V5C document. However, the car cloners are still able to get hold of duplicate number plates to mask stolen cars, despite attempts in 2002 to tighten regulations on the supply of number plates."
A sample of 15 buyers, who bought cloned cars that had stolen V5 logbooks, shows how crooks exploited their rashness to hand over their money: