A CAR dealer says a group of scammers poured oil into his motor in a bid to knock its price down.
The dad, 34, put his Audi A5 up for sale online and met three men and a young child outside his home.
But shocking CCTV footage shows the moment one of the buyers appeared to tamper with its coolant tank.
The other customers distracted the seller by claiming there was an issue with the spare wheel inside the vehicle’s boot.
It was only when the dad-of-three was alerted by his wife that he realised a scam was taking place.
The fraudsters left the driveway in leafy Tiptree, Essex, and sped off in a silver car with a young boy.
Oil was poured into the Audi's air and cooling tank on Saturday afternoon using a Fruit Shoot bottle.
It is thought buyers would then demand money off the car by pointing out damage and offering cash.
When the parent turned his £7,000 Audi on to check for damage, smoke billowed from its exhaust.
He told The Sun: "I put it on Auto Trader on Friday and then the next day I had a call from someone.
"So I rushed home, washed it all and then a car pulled up with three Romanian guys and their kid.
"One of them was faffing around with the spare wheel and he said to me 'this is broke, this is broke'.
"There was nothing wrong with it, so I walked over to show him that everything was working alright.
"Then the other two at the front of the car – one poured oil into the coolant tank using a Fruit Shoot bottle.
"And the other one put oil into the air intake. Luckily my missus was watching out of the window.
"She shouted out – and a neighbour was keeping an eye on them too.
"The men turned to me and pulled a wad of cash out – but I told them to get off of my drive right away.
"They were hoping to claim the head gasket had gone and then offer me something like scrap value for the car, even though it was in great condition."
The dad, a former police officer, added: "I can't believe they had the front to carry this out on my doorstep."
He is waiting to see what the repair bill is through his insurance, but fears the car could be a write-off.
An Essex Police spokeswoman said: "We’re investigating a report of criminal damage to a vehicle.
"No arrests have been made and enquiries are ongoing."
It is believed similar scams have been taking place around parts of Essex and East London.
The Sun previously reported that a gang poured oil into a car using a water bottle during a sale in Royton, Gtr Manchester.
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