Vigilant garda spots BMW 'ringer'
A car savvy garda told Letterkenny District Court how he was able to spot an illegally "rung" BMW car after he drove it for a short distance.
Letterkenny based Garda Paul McGee said he had stopped what was initially believed to be a BMW 318 at Bonagee, Letterkenny on 27 May, 2010, and noticed it was not taxed.
The vehicle belonged to William Lecky of Fairview, Pluck in Letterkenny and he impounded it and drove to a storage areas known as Greens Yard.
On the way he "noticed it was no ordinary BMW 318" as it had "a lot" more power and a BMW 325i sports interior.
He explained he understood the difference in these cars as he had a personal interest in them and had "a good aptitude" for motor vehicles".
He handed the vehicle over to a Garda Public Service Vehicle inspector who found a "chassis number welded into the engine at the back of the bulkhead".
The last registered owner of the car as a 325i was based in county Armagh and according to PSNI records it had been destroyed.
He said it appeared the BMW was a "ringed car" that was changed because of the lower tax and insurance cost of a 318, which generally have a lowered powered 1.8litre engine.
He stated the car was registered as a 1990 vehicle when in fact it was first registered in 1989 in the North.
Garda McGee told Judge Seamus Hughes the car was "still worth a few pound" and could fetch up to €6,000 currently but sold for as much as €10,000 in recent years.
He said he went to take a statement from the current owner but he "wouldn't co-operate".
Judge Hughes granted his application for a forfeiture to the State for disposal.