http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales ... -30214464/
THE DVLA says it expects to replace virtually all of BritainÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 34 million vehicle log books by the end of this year to finally thwart criminals who stole more than two million of the blank Ã¢â‚¬Å“registered keeperÃ¢â‚¬Â forms.
An estimated Ã‚Â£13m worth of vehicles have been stolen as a result of the loss of the blank log books from the DVLA.
Thieves got their hands on 2.2 million blank log books, or registered keeper forms, which were due to have been shredded because of a minor printing error in 2006.
Criminal gangs have been using the stolen vehicle registration documents to sell cloned cars on the private market ever since.
Car cloning is the vehicle equivalent of identity theft. Gangs copy the number plate and other identifying details of a legitimate car onto a similar, but stolen clone.
They also copy the genuine vehicleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s log book Ã¢â‚¬â€œ or V5 form Ã¢â‚¬â€œ by using one of the stolen ones.
They then present the stolen V5C registered keeper forms to trick unsuspecting victims with official, watermarked reassurance that they are buying legitimate cars, not cloned, stolen ones.
The Swansea-based DVLA says the cloning of documents is a criminal activity outside of its control and the organisation is currently working with the police to stop it happening.
Last August, the DVLA began a programme of replacing all of BritainÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 34 million vehicle registered keeper forms.
The new registration forms Ã¢â‚¬â€ or V5Cs Ã¢â‚¬â€ are coloured red and come with a letter telling recipients to destroy their existing blue ones.
A spokesman for the DVLA told the Western Mail yesterday: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Since last August, we have replaced 23 million log books with new red issue forms.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“And we expect to complete the job by the end of this year replacing virtually all of the 34 million forms.Ã¢â‚¬Â
After the lorry load of V5C log books was stolen in 2006, police say they have been recovering around 10 faked log books a week but more than 100,000 blank logs books are still thought to be missing.
According to the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) last year, 11,000 vehicles worth more than Ã‚Â£13m were Ã¢â‚¬Å“clonedÃ¢â‚¬Â by criminals so stolen cars could then be sold on as legitimate.
Regarding the original theft of the forms, the DVLA has confirmed they were part of a faulty batch which were returned to printing contractors for destruction.
The DVLA said in a statement: Ã¢â‚¬Å“The documents were not stolen at DVLA but at some point after they were returned.Ã¢â‚¬Â
It has been estimated replacing the 34 million logbooks will cost the agency around Ã‚Â£6m.
Transport Minister Mike Penning, speaking about the thefts, said: Ã¢â‚¬Å“We know that criminals try to legitimise the sale of a stolen or cloned vehicle with a forged or stolen registration certificate and they get away with it because many motorists believe that a registration certificate is proof of ownership.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is important that motorists are aware that this is not the case.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The DVLA has published on its website a list of serial numbers for the blank log books which it believes have gone missing.
Potential used-car buyers are advised to check the documentsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ serial numbers against the missing batch.
If the serial numbers begin with BG or BI, then buyers are advised to be cautious and check.
Buyers are also advised to carry out a provenance check of their potential car, to check its serial numbers all match against the registration database.