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Thu, 15 Jan 2009
HPI, the independent vehicle information provider, has played an instrumental role
in helping the Metropolitan Police catch a violent car crime gang. In partnership
with Exchange & Mart, HPI helped police track down the gang who made £1.2m by
stealing dozens of cars, selling them on and then re-stealing them to sell on again.
In some instances, the same cars were stolen and sold a staggering 6 times.

The gang was able to do this by committing the vehicle equivalent of identity theft
- car cloning. Car cloning, an increasing problem in the used car arena, occurs when
criminals replace the number plates and VIN of a stolen vehicle with that of an
almost identical model, effectively erasing any record of the theft. In this case,
it allowed the gang to steal the same vehicle over and over again to sell on to
unsuspecting buyers.

The leader of the gang, Nokhiaz Khan set-up a false car dealership under the name of
Metropolitan Recovery to provide a cover for his gang's illegal activities. HPI was
able to provide invaluable assistance in shutting down Khan's operation as part of
their continuing work with police forces around the country to combat all types of
vehicle fraud. As Khan and his gang only wanted the identities of vehicles that had
a clean history, they would perform an HPI Check on any suitable identity before
using it for one of their stolen vehicles. The Met passed on the registration
numbers of the stolen vehicles to HPI, who then cross-referenced them with HPI Check
requests on their system. One name kept coming up against the stolen registration
numbers - Metropolitan Recovery. Armed with this information, the police were able
to connect the gang to the stolen vehicles and begin working to stop them.

He and four gang members have been convicted for their part in the four-year crime
wave, while Khan pleaded guilty to fraud involving 37 cars. The gang used classified
publications, like Exchange & Mart, to sell on the cars. Explains Nick Lindsay,
Director of HPI; "This gang mistakenly thought they could use industry tools to
their advantage. However, by working closely together, HPI, Exchange & Mart and the
Police have proved that the industry is more than a match for even the most
sophisticated thieves."

"This case offers a clear warning to used car criminals and shows the industry's
commitment to clamping down on the fraudsters," adds Debra Healy, Digital Director
from Exchange & Mart. "The growth of online buying and selling or used cars has
been phenomenal, but the risks to the buyer remain. As a founding member of the
Vehicle Safe Trading Advisory Group (VSTAG), working alongside the Metropolitan
Police, we urge all used car buyers to be vigilant, conduct the right checks and
take every measure to protect themselves from the unscrupulous." Exchange & Mart is
enhancing its site to offer even greater security against fraudsters. This includes
ensuring vehicle registration details are provided by the advertiser, which will
continually be checked throughout the life of the ad to ensure the vehicle is
legitimate. In addition, the address of the credit card holder will also be checked
against the details provided.

The HPI Check will confirm a vehicle's history, including if the car is stolen, has
outstanding finance, a mileage discrepancy, and if it has been an insurance
write-off. It also offers cover of up to £30,000 and is the only history check
guarantee to provide cover for cloned vehicles. Concludes Lindsay: "Both consumers
and dealers can become a victim of car fraudsters, so we advise private buyers and
those in the trade to conduct checks. And even if the person you are buying from
says they have done an HPI Check or shows you a HPI Certificate, do one of your own
so that you are protected by the guarantee. It's better to be safe than sorry."

To conduct an HPI Check: log on to, or call the dedicated number
01722 422 422

To buy new and used cars online Visit


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