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Driver sentenced for swapping parts from hire car

Alexander Keating of Widnes stole the gear shift knob, steering wheel, brake callipers and other parts from an Audi A3 loaned to him by accident management company Accident Exchange and swapped them with parts from his ageing Audi S3.

Keating was caught when a garage worker at a local bodyshop spotted the mismatch of old parts on the A3. They reported the theft to local Police and Accident Exchange’s bespoke anti-fraud team, Asset Protection Unit (APU).

Sentencing Keating at Warrington Crown Court, Judge Nicholas Woodward described the case as ‘a serious example of theft’ and demanded he pay over £2,000 in fines and court fees.

Keating, a bodyshop technician, stole the parts after his mother damaged her car in an accident and hired the Audi A3 from Accident Exchange. He used the workshop of his employer – Blue Bell Bodyshop in Wilmslow – to carry out the parts swap, but lost his job after being caught.

Neil Thomas, director of investigative services at APU, said: ‘This guy is clearly no master criminal, to think that he could swap parts on one of our cars without us noticing.

‘This case was another great example of good teamwork and how APU can work with businesses and local Police to bring all manner of motor fraudsters to justice.’ 

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.