POLICE have issued a warning to people selling their car to be on the lookout for a re-emerging scam.

The trick sees potential buyers attempt to knock thousands off a car’s asking price, by tampering with its engine.

It sees criminals secretly pour oil into the coolant reservoir of the vehicle for sale, then request a large discount claiming it will require a new engine.

The scammers are known to arrive to view the car in pairs or threes and will try to distract the seller so they can carry out the act.

A spokesperson for Essex Police said: “The scam has been around for a number of years. We have seen an increase in the number of reports in Essex.

“One person may ask to look at the engine while the other wants to see the spare tyre in the boot.

“When the car is taken for a test drive, the engine may smoke or make loud noises, which will prompt the scammers to ask for a cut-price deal.”

The police have now issued the following advice for those selling a car:

- Stay with the buyers - Don’t leave them alone with the car or allow yourself to be distracted at the rear of the vehicle whilst someone is looking at the engine.

- Be aware of suspicious behaviour - Scammers will often request an enormous discount due to the ‘fault’ with the vehicle.

- Be confident to refuse the sale - If you are doubtful about how genuine the buyer is, or you believe that something suspicious is going on, don’t hand over the keys.

For more advice like this, visit www.essex.police.uk/fraud.