Sunday, 26 December 2010

3 Nobles stolen in 2005

In 2005, a theft of the Noble factory led to an amazing scene of events, and Pistonheads was there every step of the way.

Thieves broke into Noble Automotive’s Leicestershire HQ on Monday night, stealing three Noble cars – an M12 GTO and two M400 models, one of which was brand new and awaiting delivery to a dealer. In total, the cars were worth £150,000.
The factory was burgled during Monday evening, and it has since been found that an out-sourced cleaning company failed to set the premises’ high-tech alarm system, which would have alerted police immediately.
Lee Noble, the company’s MD said: “The three stolen cars were driven away from the factory in convoy. But one of the thieves lost control of the Noble he was driving after less than a mile and the police retrieved it from a ditch. Given how unique the other two cars are, these criminals will have extraordinary difficulty selling them on. And since the cars are not homologated elsewhere in the world, selling them overseas will not be easy.”
Noble’s sky-blue coloured press demonstrator, which has appeared in magazines and newspapers around the world, is one of the stolen cars. Its registration is ‘M400 GTO’. The other, un-registered car is a silver-coloured model which was due for delivery to a dealer today.

Following the theft of a trio of Nobles last week (story link below), a PHer spotted the company's Portifino Blue M400 press demonstrator car, registration 'M400 GTO' last Saturday night in Norwich, travelling towards Great Yarmouth.
Simon Hucknall, Noble's press relations man, said, "the PHer spotted the car and immediately reported it to the police (many thanks for this, Peter). However, the police would not investigate the sighting because the car was not showing on their Stolen Vehicles Register. It turns out that they had forgotten to list it after we'd reported the car missing.
"However, my intention is not to bash police incompetence, but to alert anyone in the Norfolk area that the car just may still be around. The thieves have obviously not changed the plates (remarkably), but even if they now have, this car is the only Portifino M400, so it will still stand out to those in the know.
"Please also let me add, on behalf of everyone here at the factory, our thanks for the kind words and support expressed on this forum, since the break in last week."
Let PistonHeads add that we wish Noble the best of luck in retrieving the cars

A sequence of events that would have done a Hollywood thriller proud has lead to the recovery of two stolen Noble cars, worth over £100,000 (see original story, link below).
The cars were stolen last January in a raid on Noble’s Leicestershire factory. Despite plenty of coverage in the media –- including a feature on BBC’s CrimeWatch UK programme –- the location of the cars remained a mystery until Noble’s MD, Lee Noble, received a call from someone calling himself ‘Tim’.
'Tim' claimed to know the whereabouts of the stolen cars and demanded a large cash payout to reveal the information. But Noble was having none of it: “I sensed that the guy was desperate, having had no luck in selling the cars on in the last five months. But on the other hand, one of the cars contained some bespoke development parts which were of value to us. I offered him £3000 cash and he reluctantly accepted it.”
Noble was told to drive to a TGI Friday restaurant on the Coventry by-pass, no more than 12 miles from Noble’s factory. “I thought we were being met there,” said Noble, “but I received another call in which I was sent on a wild goose chase all around Coventry – these guys obviously wanted to know that the police weren’t in tow.”
Noble and colleague Colin Bayliss finally met two men on a bridge over the A45. “They were as suspicious of me as I was of them – they even checked that the child locks were off on my BMW before they got in the back and directed us towards a row of council lock-up garages a couple of miles away.
“The men got out of the car and opened one of the garage doors to reveal a silver Noble. But I had to know that both of them were there, so I locked myself (and the cash) in the car until they opened a second lock-up, revealing our blue press M400 – still showing its original number plates! I wound down my window, handed them the cash, and then watched them run off, scaling a ten-foot high wall as they did so; they didn’t even count the cash.”
Within an hour, both cars were back at the factory. Apart from a missing stereo, they were found to be untouched and only required their batteries charging and a thorough valet.
Summing up the futility of such a theft, Noble said, “Cars like these are too unusual to sell on once they’ve been stolen. The low-volume sports car market is such a tight-knit community that someone is bound to spot a vehicle of dubious provenance a mile off.”

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