Bike theft: No more cash for salvaged motorbikes

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One of the UK’s largest salvage auctioneers will no longer make cash payments for written off vehicles. Starting from March 31, customers will be paid by bank transfer.

It’s hoped that by insisting on a more rigorous payment method, it will deter criminals from attempting to sell bikes through salvage auctions.

Salvage specialists Synetiq have taken this step after consulting with insurance companies and the West Midlands Police who launched a campaign last year for tougher standards on the re-sale of damaged vehicles. WMP had concerns that the ease of selling salvaged vehicles for cash was fuelling a growth in vehicle theft.

“I’m delighted we’re leading the industry with compliance and transparency,” says Richard Martin, Group MD of Synetiq. “We have worked closely with our clients and the authorities and will continue to drive up standards and trust in both our business and the industry.”

Police investigations have suggested organised criminal gangs are buying write-offs from salvage auctions, repairing the bikes with stolen parts only to sell them on again at another salvage auction as repairable write-offs. With large profits to be made, WMP believe this is encouraging criminals to steal more vehicles.

“Synetiq are setting a great example: they are listening to police concerns over the rise in stolen vehicles and are taking steps to make it to more difficult to exploit the salvage vehicle industry and close potential loopholes that could be exploited by criminals,” says Chris Todd, WMP Chief Superintendent.”

‘We know cash payments fuel vehicle crime’ – Chris Todd, WMP

“It’s widely accepted cash payments fuel vehicle crime and act as a money-laundering loophole. By making purchasers buy vehicles through bank transactions then we have a footprint of the sale which would clearly help any subsequent investigations.”

The identification of stolen parts has been a large concern for the Motorcycle Crime Reduction Group for decades. The Master Scheme was launched in 2012 and tags individual parts in an attempt to prevent exactly these sorts of fraud.

They offer a free ‘confirm or deny’ check, which can help identify the sales of bikes whose identity has been blurred through the swapping of parts.


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