Police have issued a warning to car buyers to be cautious when purchasing vehicles after two men were jailed for offences involving stolen cars.

Gulbar Akram of Troy Street, Blackburn was sentenced to four and a half years and his brother Gulzameer Akram of Brantfell Road, was sentenced to two years and eight months, both for handling stolen motor vehicles and theft of vehicles.

The brothers pleaded guilty to handling a total of 14 stolen motor vehicles and theft of a Transit van.

The total value of the vehicles was over £360,000.

The brothers admitted changing the identity of the stolen vehicles to match that of an existing genuine vehicle.

They also admitted reselling four of the vehicles bearing false identities for over £40,000 to innocent members of the public. The officer who led the investigation, Sergeant Andy Dixon, said: "Police have again highlighted this growing trend of selling a stolen vehicle with an apparently true identity via private sales.

"Innocent members of the public are viewing cars they would like to buy, and having decided to buy are not being careful and taking precautions, such as using bank drafts and transfers as a safer form of payment.

" If the seller is insisting on being paid cash for a vehicle then purchasers must start to ask themselves why and use the insistence as an alarm that something is not right.

"In recent times, police have become aware that sellers are renting flats with false identity details in an effort to make buyers more comfortable about parting with money.

"People should be aware that if they buy a stolen vehicle on a false identity, that the vehicle will be taken from them and returned to its rightful owner and that the only way to recover their money will be when the seller is traced."