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Sunday 4 December 2016

Wexford firm latest victim of tractor theft scam

Bruce Lett and Caitriona Murphy

Published 03/05/2011 | 05:00

Enniscorthy Motor Company became the latest victim of an elaborate tractor theft scam when it received a forged bank draft as payment for a New Holland TM140 worth €35,000.

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The elaborate con began when the thief rang Larry O'Shaughnessy at the Enniscorthy Motor Company from an English phone number. The caller said he was currently working on a job in England but his father had been down to see the tractor in the yard and wanted to buy it. The buyer was Irish but did not have an identifiable regional accent.

Mr O'Shaughnessy proceeded to negotiate the sale of the 2004-registered TM140 over the phone and arranged to deliver the tractor to the Fox's Cover pub on the Dublin-Galway road close to Mullingar on April 20.

The buyer, who gave the false name David Hannon from a townland in Co Longford, said his father was testing cattle that day but would go to the bank the following day for a bank draft as payment for the tractor.

"I followed the lorry up to Mullingar and met the man who handed me over an envelope with the bank draft in it," said Mr O'Shaughnessy. "It looked perfect but when I lodged it at the bank the next day, they told me it was bogus."

Forgery

It is understood that the draft was a forgery of an old bank draft drawn on a closed account in the AIB branch in Mullingar.

The New Holland TM 140 had the registration plate 04 WX 1131, serial number ACM219392 ENGHB102026 and featured a distinctive front carrier, which could be used for a front-mounted sprayer or furrow press.

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The theft is similar to that of a New Holland TM155 from Antrim-based machinery dealer Nelson Alexander.

This tractor, which had a front linkage, roof beacon, low-profile Vredestein tyres and the registration number WJ55 BZY, was last seen in Mullingar when a bogus buyer handed over a forged bank draft as payment.

Nelson Alexander is now offering a €2,000 reward for the recovery of the tractor.

Detective Sergeant Finbar Garland of the Stolen Motor Vehicles Investigations Unit in Harcourt Street, Dublin, said the modus operandi of the thieves in both cases was the same but he could not say if they were connected.

He warned anyone selling machinery to be aware of counterfeit bank drafts and to make enquiries with the bank before accepting them.

"If in doubt, call us or just don't do it, especially if you are handing over a high-value piece of machinery," he said.

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