Hunt for thief who stole car during a test drive

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A thief left a trusting motorist stranded after he stole a car in the middle of a test drive.

The crook had been travelling as a passenger in the black VW Golf R32 before he jumped into the driver’s seat and raced off at speed.

A 62-year-old man, who was selling the car on behalf of a relative, had taken the would-be buyer out on a test drive when the theft took place just before 2pm on Tuesday in Front Street, Quarrington Hill, Durham.

He was driving towards Coxhoe when the passenger, who claimed to be a mechanic, asked him to pull over so he could listen to the engine.

Once the car had stopped in Front Street, the thief then asked if he could drive the remainder of the journey to test the steering. He opened the passenger side door but, as the man in the driving seat climbed out, he quickly took his place and locked the door.

The thief sped off in the direction of Coxhoe before carrying out a u-turn and heading back towards Quarrington Hill.

The suspect, who claimed to be from Shiremoor, is described as in his mid-50s and about 5ft 8ins tall. He spoke with a “Geordie” accent and was wearing denim jeans, a dark fleece jacket and a woollen hat.

Inquiries into the theft are on-going. Anyone with information that can help police trace the suspect or the stolen vehicle, registration NK58 KKV, is asked to contact Durham Constabulary on 101, quoting reference DHM-24112015-0197, or the independent charity Crimestoppers on 088 555 111.