Saturday, April 13, 2024
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With as many as one in 12 of the 37 million vehicles (all types) on UK roads likely to have cloned registration plates, stolen motorcycle recovery expert Tracker is putting the spotlight on bike cloning. While vehicle cloning is most commonly associated with cars, it is increasingly being used to hide the identity of stolen motorcycles. More than 26,000 motorcycles are stolen every year and are often used for serious criminal offences such as burglaries and robberies.

Cloning is the vehicle equivalent of identity fraud – criminals steal a motorbike or scooter and give it a new identity copied from a similar make and model bike already on the road. The criminal disguises the unique 17-digit Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on the stolen motorcycle and uses a stolen V5/logbook to try to legitimise its identity. A vehicle with a cloned identity is all the more difficult for the police to identify, and in turn, easier for the thief to sell on.

Andy Barrs, head of police liaison at Tracker (pictured), says: “Fraudsters continue to use more sophisticated methods to hide the true identity of stolen motorcycles and then sell them on to innocent buyers who think they’re getting a dream bike at a bargain price. The majority of bikes stolen are less than three years old and a staggering 80% of all cloned motorcycles end up in the dealer network.

“Around £12.5 million worth of stolen vehicles were recovered by Tracker last year alone, but there remain a significant number of stolen vehicles circulating on the UK’s roads, including motorbikes. For every five motorcycles and scooters stolen in the UK this year, only two are expected to be recovered. Although a good number of motorcycles are stolen to order or for their parts, many are sold at a low price to entice consumers into parting with their cash.”

Barrs concludes: “While a tracking device won’t stop a motorbike being stolen, it can significantly increase the chances of the police locating and returning it to its rightful owner. Without any SVR protection, the probability of a stolen bike being offered for sale as a clone is greatly increased.”

Tracker has been in business for nearly 25 years and its technology can locate stolen vehicles anywhere, even when they are hidden in a garage or shipping container.

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