Police believe the X-registration silver Renault 5 Gordini, worth pounds 275 when taken from a street in Hounslow, could have been driven to the Balkans by the thieves before being sold.
Officers discovered its reappearance after being contacted by the Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) which had received forms from someone in one of the new Balkan states, believed to be Bosnia, applying to register it.
Stolen cars are sold without log books and when the new owner, often in all innocence, applies for one, as he or she has to do by law, the DVLA will issue it even though they are aware that the vehicle is stolen.
At the same time they notify police of its whereabouts. However, the police have no suspects, no reports of sightings of the car from the Balkans and little hope of solving the case.
Neither do they have any plans to continue investigating the theft or trying to trace the car through Interpol.
Sgt Craig McGuinness said: 'We haven't got any plans to go and get it - not unless anyone's got a spare Sherman tank handy.
'I'm still trying to understand all this myself. Why would anyone want to bother applying to register a car when you're out there in a place like that?
'And anyway, the car's worthless. You wouldn't even be able to sell it for scrap.'Reuse content