POLICE are warning car sellers to be aware of scammers tampering with their engines to get a discount.

Five similar frauds have been reported around Wiltshire this year.

Victims reported seeing a group of men or men and women arriving to view a car that has been advertised for sale then distracting the owner while oil is poured into the radiator or coolant tank.

They then go for a test drive and the vehicle starts emitting smoke. The would-be buyer then asks the seller for a large discount on the car’s original selling price because they say the engine needs repairing.

In each case, the seller has refused to do this so the buyers then get aggressive before leaving.

Det Sgt Joanne Webber said: “We’ve seen a series of these incidents where a so-called interested buyer tampers with the engine while the seller is being distracted and then demands a discount when a problem appears on the test drive.

“Unfortunately, everyone targeted by these rogue would-be buyers have had to pay for repairs to their cars afterwards. Luckily, no-one has sold their car at a discount.

“If you are selling a vehicle, please be mindful of this scam. If you suspect someone of doing this, take down as many details as possible including their description along with the make, model and registration of the vehicle they may arrive in and then call us on 101.

“If possible, have someone with you when buyers arrive so they can keep an eye on anyone trying to tamper with the vehicle.”

For more crime prevention advice, visit www.wiltshire.police.uk