International crime groups are targeting UK-based car lessors in an attempt to obtain high-performance vehicles fraudulently, according to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB).

The bureau revealed that criminals used fraudulent identification to obtain expensive, high-performance cars from car leasing companies.

Barry Shorto, head of industry relations at cap hpi, claimed that leasing gave criminal gangs ample time to move the cars out of the country.

He said: “Once these vehicles have been leased, the criminals have no intentions of bringing them back. Instead, they are shipped abroad where the index plates are changed and the bodywork repainted.”

Shorto urged extra care among UK car lessors when checking identification, and tracking their vehicles.

Shorto added: “The best action UK leasing companies can take to minimise the risk of vehicle theft is to be ultra-diligent when checking customer authenticity and to look at all methods of verifying identification. The fitting of appropriate tracking devices in all vehicles will also minimise the risk of theft.”