The DVLA are to replace over 34 million vehicle log books belonging to motorists after thieves stole 2 million blank ‘registered keeper’ forms.
A log book is a compulsory document that every vehicle has to have, it is the official DVLA record of the current and previous owners of the vehicle from when it was first registered to the present owner.
The log books stolen were due to be shredded after there was a printing error when they were produced in 2006. As a result of the thefts £13 million pounds worth of vehicles have been cloned and the DVLA have until the end of this year to replace the old blue books with new red ones to avoid any other vehicles being targeted.
The distribution of the log books began in August 2011 and many motorists have started to receive their new log books with a letter enclosed asking them to destroy their old log book. The DVLA are confident by the end of 2012 all 34 million motorists will have received their new log books.
It is estimated that the replacement log books that have been sent out to motorists will cost around £6 million pounds.
Criminals who have stolen the log books have been using them to sell cloned cars on the private market ever since, fooling innocent buyers into thinking they are purchasing a legitimate vehicle car when in fact they are cloned.
Police are working with the DVLA to stop the criminals from distributing the stolen log books on to unsuspecting customers and since the investigation began, fake log books have been recovered but there are still 100,000 blank log books estimated to be missing.
Transport Minister Mike Penning, spoke about the thefts, commented: “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.
“It is important that motorists are aware that this is not the case.”
Motorists are being urged to be extra vigilant when purchasing a vehicle. They are advised to check the serial number on the documents against the missing batch and a provenance check to see if the serial numbers match those against the registration database.
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By Amanda Bainbridge