There could be as many as 2,000 stolen cars for sale in Ireland at any given time and a customer would never know the legal status of what they are buying as the gardaí refuse to share their information.
Cartell.ie, the car history check service launched in May 2006, said it is all but impossible to tell if a vehicle in Ireland is stolen, as the stolen motor vehicle unit of An Garda Síochána does not make its logs of stolen cars available to be searched.
Cartell.ie director Jeff Aherne said a consumer who unknowingly buys a stolen car would find themselves completely out of pocket.
“This is a serious problem,” said Mr Aherne. “If you buy a stolen vehicle you can lose all of your money as the vehicle may be returned to its rightful owner.”
Mr Aherne said that in other jurisdictions there have been successful collaborations between the police and third party information companies that has reduced car theft.
In the UK, the police share the information that they enter into the Police National Computer system with third party vehicle information system providers.
Cartell has helped to return cars that have been stolen in the UK to their rightful owners but, due to privacy legislation in Ireland, there is no hope of something similar happening here.
Each year, upwards of 10,000 vehicles are stolen, of which 2,000 go unrecovered.
Unrecovered vehicles are resold to unsuspecting members of the public.
Because gardaí do not release the data, thieves in Ireland do not have to clone the vehicle by using false registration plates of a similar clean vehicle.
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