May 02, 2010 19:00 ET

Swinton Bikes Warns of Motorbike Insurance Implications Following Stolen Bike Scam

MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - May 3, 2010) - Swinton Bikes, one of the UK's leading motorbike insurance brokers, is warning consumers to be vigilant when buying a new motorcycle following a surge in the number of dealers unwittingly accepting stolen bikes in part-exchange for new machines.

Due to the tough economic climate motorcycle dealers are now under much greater pressure to secure sales, leading to laxer security checks, and as a result, they are accepting "ringers" – stolen bikes given the identity of legitimate machines.

The Met police's stolen vehicle unit has recently disclosed that the majority of stolen bikes recovered had at some point been through the dealer system.

Swinton Bikes has issued a stark caution to riders thinking of purchasing a second hand motorcycle, warning them that if they buy a stolen bike, they should be prepared to lose the bike and their money.

Anthony Aronin, Head of Swinton Bikes, said: "Riders incorrectly think that they will be covered by their motorcycle insurance policies if they buy a stolen bike but this isn't the case. They have absolutely no legal rights to keep the bike as it is generally still the property of the original owner and, if seized by the police, the machine could be returned to the original owner or the motorbike insurance company.

"To avoid this outcome we urge all riders to check that all the paperwork is in order before handing over any money."

Aside from the impact on riders, Swinton Bikes has also expressed concern for the motorcycle industry.

Anthony Aronin added: "This new phenomenon is worrying and potentially harmful to the UK motorcycle industry.

"If the police were to seize a couple of bikes from a small dealership it could well close down when faced with a relatively large loss in potential income.

Swinton Bikes has provided the following tips to consumers hoping to purchase a second hand motorbike:

  • Ensure that you have correct levels of motorbike insurance to cover you on the test ride
  • Check that all paperwork is in order
  • Check warning lights – bulbs may have been removed to detract from faults
  • Check that the transition between all gears is smooth
  • Be sure to check rear brakes as well as front brakes
  • Ride a few examples of the same model for performance comparison purposes
  • Check suspension adjustment as it could affect performance if faulty
  • Check petrol and temperature gauges work and cross reference mileage against old MOT certificates to see if they match up

About Swinton

  • With 580 branches nationwide Swinton is the UK's largest high street insurance retailer
  • Unlike many other companies in the financial services industry, Swinton is committed to keeping its branches open for business, and part of the community
  • Swinton provides a one-stop-shop for the insurance and related needs of its clients, offering home, car, caravan, business, holiday, motorbike and even classic car insurance
  • With a dedicated team of advisors on hand at every branch to search a panel of insurers to offer quality cover at competitive rates

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