Honda CR-V for Big Mike CD 193Honda CR-V for Big Mike CD 193

Big Mike

Our secret used car dealer on a stolen Honda and why the police came for him

Our ever-popular mystery used car dealer columnist found himself with some explaining to do to the boys and girls in blue recently when he took in a Honda CR-V as a part-ex

Time 7:31 am, March 31, 2024

If you’re in the motor trade then the sheer nature of our business means that at some point each of us is likely to have been a victim of car crime.

Indeed, it’s pretty rife in the current economic climate – more so than in recent times.

Just last year, I had the headache of trying to find 17 replacement catalytic converters after some thieving rotbags came around at the dead of night and helped themselves to the cats off the majority of my sales cars.

I didn’t notice until right at the end of the day when I had a test-drive appointment on a Toyota Avensis and I went to fire it up ready for the customer, only to be greeted by a cacophonous roar from underneath.

So, I looked at the rest of my cars to find that virtually everything with a petrol engine was devoid of a catalytic converter.

Naturally, I checked my CCTV and there they were at 3.15am with a trolley jack and angle grinder, but with little police presence in the area there was nobody there to catch them in the act.

My CCTV was useless, as they’d turned up in a Transit Tipper with fake plates and both of the blighters were wearing Rishi Sunak masks.

It’s not the first time I’ve felt like I’ve been completely done over by the prime minister, but that pales into insignificance when compared with me almost getting arrested for having one of my own cars stolen a couple of weeks ago.

I’m justly quite angry about this, but less so than I was at the time, as I’m informed the culprits were caught red-handed a couple of weeks later while trying to liberate a Toyota Rav4 from the driveway of a professional dog trainer.

If anyone deserved a bite on the arse from a rottweiler it was them. My old pal Fluffy (a past star of this column) passed on a few years ago, but I like to think he was with them in spirit, helping himself to a mouthful of burglar’s butt.

Anyway, I digress. The story goes like this…

I’d been clearing the garden as it’s getting to the time of year where Herself likes to get out there with her bulbs and pot plants, so I took an appropriate vehicle home to help out with the inevitable tip runs.

With a drive to the dump in mind, I also took the opportunity to clear away some of my own rubbish – namely a battered old filing cabinet and broken office chair.

Toyota from Big Mike CD 193

A Toyota Avensis similar to the one that Big Mike once tried to sell – only to find that thieves had had it away with its catalytic converter

The car in question was an old Honda CR-V that I’d taken in as a part-ex – straight, functional, petrol and cheap (and also wearing an aftermarket catalytic converter as a result of the aforementioned scrotes).

The driveway at home was full – as it so often is, being an overspill for my forecourt – so I parked it down a quiet side road, where it would remain for a while while I plucked up the courage to don my gardening gloves.

But before I’d even dug a spade in the ground, two police officers turned up at my door to arrest me. My offence? Fly-tipping.

Apparently, an old filing cabinet had been found abandoned in a country lane about 15 miles away from our village, and inside it remained a few envelopes addressed to me at my work location that had somehow disappeared down the back of the drawers (I always did wonder what had become of my 2016 tax return).

The powers-that-be had put two and two together and asked me if I was also responsible for the knackered office chair, as if so it would be better to admit to it now than it later be identified as mine in court.

The penny dropped very quickly.

I took the officers for a walk to show them where I’d last seen said filing cabinet, knowing full well by this point that the Honda CR-V wouldn’t be there, and sure enough, it wasn’t.

Explaining that I was the victim here and not the suspect, I was given a crime number by the local constabulary for the disappearing Honda (for which I never claimed anyway, as its £600 stand-in value was only £100 more than my insurance excess).

They also told me that if I went and removed the filing cabinet and suspicious chair from the ditch in which they’d taken up residence, there would be no further action. How kind of them.

A fortnight later, my CR-V turned up. After the Toyota owner’s rottweilers had finished playing with them, the culprits were taken into custody.

Their plan had been to go hare-coursing and they were helping themselves to the old Rav4 as they’d just destroyed their previous vehicle – a CR-V that had been abandoned in a ditch not a million miles away from my office furniture.

Anyway, I can’t remain angry for long as I have to dash out. I have a filing cabinet to pick up.

This column appears in the current edition of Car Dealer – issue 193 – along with news, reviews, features and much more, including coverage of Car Dealer Live 2024. Read and download it for FREE here!

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Car Dealer has been covering the motor trade since 2008 as both a print and digital publication. In 2020 the title went fully digital and now provides daily motoring updates on this website for the car industry. A digital magazine is published once a month.

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