Police in Lancashire are warning car buyers to carry out extensive checks on their new vehicles.
The force's Stolen Vehicle Squad seized a stolen Audi valued at £10,000 in Accrington this week after a local man tried to register it with the DVLA.
Police said the man had bought it in good faith but it was originally stolen in Yorkshire and its identity changed by a method known as cloning.
Officers are urging buyers to carry out thorough checks on vehicles.
A spokesperson for Lancashire Constabulary Stolen Vehicle Squad said: "Quite often potential purchasers of second hand cars conduct HPI checks and are satisfied if the check comes back clear.
"However, this check is conducted from the registration number given. In this sense it is rather like accepting a person's identity just because they are wearing a name badge.
"That said, we strongly advice members of the public to continue conducting checks such as HPI, but be very wary of cash sales and buying in public places like car parks and fast food outlets.
"It is always worth having a vehicle examined by an expert from a reputable motoring organisation before making a purchase."