Car buyers are warned about stolen NCT certificates
Motorists have been alerted to a possible NCT certificate scam.
Drivers have been urged to check out vehicles they are thinking of buying amid concerns that some cars may have stolen certs on display.
They are also being warned they are breaking the law if they buy one of those documents from unscrupulous sources to avoid having to take their car for a scheduled test.
The alert is being raised by vehicle history-check expert Cartell.ie.
Cartell says that 850 official certificates were stolen in an armed hold-up at an NCT (National Car Test) centre in Drogheda in October 2013.
And it claims it has proof that those certs are "still circulating".
The stolen official documents 'entirely' resemble authentic certificates but the numbers are not in official circulation, the company says.
Motorists are being advised to verify the numbers on the NCT certificate with the official records. They can do this through any vehicle history checking company.
Cartell has produced a copy of one illegal cert and says: "It has been confirmed that this certificate was one of the 850 certificates stolen in a raid in 2013."
The stolen certs could be displayed on cars for sale in the used market.
It adds: "It is also possible that unscrupulous individuals are offering these stolen certificates for sale and buyers may not be aware that purchase and display of these certificates constitutes an offence."
If convicted there is a penalty of five penalty points, a possible €2,000 fine and/or up to three months' imprisonment.
Cartell director Jeff Aherne says: "If you are offered a stolen NCT certificate, you should not accept it, or display it on any vehicle, as it is an offence to use a motor vehicle without a valid NCT test certificate. As a buyer of a used vehicle you should be smart - verify all your documents as part of the buying process and that includes verifying the NCT certificate number."
Gardai said investigations into the theft of NCT certificates from the centre in October 2013 are ongoing.
The Road Safety Authority and the NCT have also warned car buyers to be vigilant.
A spokesperson for the NCT said the stolen certificates all have unique serial numbers which can be viewed on the NCT website.
"When the certificates were stolen in 2013 we put up information on the NCT website including the serial numbers of the certificates in question.
"We would ask anyone considering buying a second-hand car to verify the NCT certificate with the ones on the website.
She added car buyers with any concerns can call the NCT on 01 4135900.