Buying a car privately through the classifieds can be a good way of sourcing your dream wheels at a wallet-friendly price, provided you’ve done your research and have taken the necessary precautions to avoid being scammed.

It is an unfortunate reality that there are a number of individuals, from unscrupulous owners, to outright criminal gangs, which will look to swindle you out of your hard earned money by offering a car that isn’t as advertised, or worse still, turn up to relieve you of your cash with no car at all.

So how can you avoid this nightmare scenario? We spoke to Trading Standards’ Peter Stratton, who advised on a number of ways to avoid getting your fingers burned, including safe ways to pay and who to turn to should things go wrong.

Following his simple tips will ensure that buying a new car is the exciting experience it should be.