Gardaí investigating an organised crime gang involved in the international sale and distribution of stolen machinery and vehicle parts, have warned residents in the Roscommon and Longford areas to be wary of a scam targeting Ford Transit owners.
Gardaí in Granard were investigating a criminal gang when the scam came to light.
It is believed that Transit owners are being targeted by adverts on popular online sales sites. The adverts offer to collect vans from any part of the country, carry out repairs, or if necessary, replace the engine with a reconditioned one, before returning the van to the owner.
What actually happens is that once the owner hands over the van, an engine which has been stolen in Ireland or the UK is fitted to the van and the owner is told that it’s a reconditioned one. As a result, some owners are paying for repairs before the vans are subsequently seized by Gardaí during investigations into stolen parts.
Gardaí from the Roscommon/Longford Division are advising owners of all vehicles, but particularly Ford Transit vans to be extremely wary responding to adverts offering engine replacement on a collect and return basis, whether online or offline.
A Garda spokesperson said: “You are taking a big risk giving your van to a stranger who collects it from your door and takes it away for repairs to an unknown location, if you are a victim, this scam will have cost you money and your van will be seized by Gardaí”.