New stolen bike scam

Published: 24 November 2004

MCN has unearthed a stolen bike scam that is foxing officials and leaving people riding illegally registered stolen bikes.

Thieves have realised that VOSA, the agency responsible for checking all bikes imported in to the country, are very thorough about checking that bikes have mph speedos and headlights that dip the right way, but, they fail to check the engine and frame numbers.

Knowing this it’s simple for criminals to disguise stolen bikes. All they have to do is grind off the bikes engine and frame numbers, by a foreign bike that has been written off in an accident, apply the numbers from that bike to the stolen bike and register the stolen bike as an import.

Without the government inspectors checking for the telltale signs left when the numbers are changed, the stolen bikes will never be found and the thieves will carry on getting away with it.

The polices top bike theft expert Dr Ken German said “You need to take particular care when buying a bike that has been imported. A fresh registration document can easily fool you in to thinking the bike is genuine.”

The key thing to do if you are thinking about buying an imported second hand bike is firstly to check that the frame and engine numbers match the documents then closely examine the numbers on the bike to make sure there are no marks from where a previous number might have been removed.

If you find anything at all suspicious, just walk away and find something else.

Check out this week’s MCN, out now, for a step by step guide on how to spot a dodgy bike.