Police hunting test driver who stole car from Newport dealership

Police are searching for a man who stole a car from a dealership in Newport after taking the vehicle for a test drive.

The man, thought to be in his 50s or 60s, went to a car sales area on Newport Industrial Estate on Thursday of last week (14 August), police have said. He showed an interest in a blue Ford Mondeo, which he took for a test drive but then returned it to the dealership. The next day, however, he returned and asked for another drive, this time unaccompanied, so he could show it to his wife and he never returned.

Any car dealership wishing to offer test driving services will need to ensure they have demonstration cover in place as part of their combined motor trade insurance policy. This will offer protection for the vehicle and other drivers during a test drive but, importantly, this is only valid if the potential customer presents a valid driver’s licence and a member of staff accompanies them on the test drive. Allowing a motorist to take a car out for a spin without these two things not only invalidates the cover but it also opens up the possibility of an event like this.

The garage owner, having dealt with the man the day before, trusted he was a genuine customer and saw no problem in letting him show the vehicle to his wife before completing the purchase, the Cornish Guardian reported.

The car has now been reported stolen and police are looking for the man and the Ford Mondeo. According to PC Thomson in Launceston: “It is not uncommon for this type of car to be offered for sale cheap to an unsuspecting buyer.”