TWO WHEELCHAIR USERS have been left out of pocket following a scam involving a stolen car that an Oulart man unwittingly bought.
Francis Fortune, from Kyle, Oulart, was looking to trade in his jeep, a '01 Honda HRV, for a car when he saw an ad on a popular website for a '07 Vauxhall Vectra that attracted his attention.
Francis said the jeep is automatic and 'suited him down to the ground' as he has only one leg and is a wheelchair user, but in recent times his sight has deteriorated rapidly and he can no longer drive.
His partner Mary now drives him to his various medical appointments at Vincent's in Dublin, the National Rehabilitation Centre in Dun Laoghaire and St Luke's Hospital in Kilkenny, where he receives regular dialysis. They met the man selling the car on a Sunday over three weeks ago at a filling station in Ballymun in Dublin.
The seller proposed an exchange of vehicles so Francis could test drive the car, which the Oulart man agreed to. The pair met again the following Friday in Sallins, Co Kildare, and Francis gave him €4,250 plus the jeep, which the seller had valued at €3,000. Francis said the jeep was 'perfect' and had an NCT up until May 2013.
The tax office informed him that the registration did not match the chassis number and the car was actually a '05 and already had an owner, an English man who owns a holiday home at Tulsk, Co Roscommon. The car had been taken when the holiday home was robbed.
Francis called the Gardaí - who said the forged papers were of a high quality - and arranged to have the car brought to Enniscorthy Garda Station, leaving him at a loss of his jeep and €4,250.
However, last Friday he received a call from someone who saw his jeep for sale on the same website and recognised it as his. He again alerted the Gardaí and they spotted it parked outside a house in Banagher, Co Offaly. They knocked on the door and found that earlier that day another wheelchair user, a man who had been injured in an accident, had bought the jeep for a knockdown price in the region of €1,500 and was delighted with his purchase.
Francis is due to pick up the jeep after it has been forensically examined.