AN ELDERLY couple who almost fell victim to a sophisticated scam that could have cost them their £9,000 car now want to see the con artists behind bars.

The husband and wife from Steventon, who want to remain anonymous, were targeted by fraudsters who offered just a few hundred pounds for their Mercedez Benz after tampering with its engine.

The couple said the ‘very clever’ scammers who came to view their car secretly poured oil into the coolant reservoir.

They then offered a low price because they falsely claimed the engine was in a poor state and needed work.

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The pair first advertised their Mercedez for sale on Autotrader, and had their first enquiry within hours.

The potential buyers – two men and a teenage boy, who looked about 16 – showed up to the couple’s home in Steventon to view the car on January 23.

Speaking about what happened next, they said: “They examined the car and took it for a test drive and then looked under the bonnet for a second time, this time they pointed to oil in the coolant bottle.

“They said the car needed a new engine but that they would be happy to take it for a few hundred pounds even though the car is advertised at £8,995.”

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This is when the stunned couple realised something wrong was going on and declined to proceed with the sale.

After the three scammers left, the pair realised they had also tried to disconnect their CCTV – but it was still recording.

They instantly called Thames Valley Police and officers arrived to take a statement about the ordeal.

The couple said that the high-quality footage, which has now been handed over to the force, clearly showed how the entire scam operates and the faces of the fraudsters.

They said that the teenager can be seen taking a bottle out of his pocket and tampering with the coolant bottle while the other two men distracted the couple at the boot area of the car.

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Speaking after the incident, they said: “It made us feel a bit stupid but it is a very, very clever scam.

“We had to take the car to a garage after to get it fixed, so now we are out of pocket.”

Now, the Steventon family want to raise awareness of the con and hope that the force can catch the scammers.

A police spokesperson confirmed that a report has been filed and that it is investigating a case of criminal damage.

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