Originally Posted by CJL
Hang on do you still have the boat?
If you've sold it on why aren't they after the current owner?
Pursuing you as an innocent buyer is a bit vindictive and waste of time if you took reasonable steps to buy it after carrying out checks.
Chris your missing the point. The current owner has tried to sell it and it's been proven to be a stolen boat. If we assume that's correct (rather than a scam) then the current owner has to sue the person/business he bought it from. They then have to sue who they got it from and so on, until the chain leads back to either the person that stole it or the one that handled the first stolen sale, wittingly or not!
It's not a police matter as the OP did not steal it so will not face any convictional charge. That being said he's liable to his buyer once it's proven to be a stolen boat at the time of his sale. His proof of ownership is worthless (other than to prove he bought it in good faith) as it was never his to sell, likewise with the current owner.
The real owner (either the loss adjuster if insurance paid out or the person that owned it when it was stolen if no insurance was in place) can simply come and claim legal rights to it at any time in the future provided they can prove beyond doubt legal ownership. Sold as seen means nothing.
First you need to confirm the solicitor letter is genuine, then that the boat is indeed a stolen one AND was at the time of your sale. Next that the letter is from the Buyer you sold it to (as he may have sold it on and that buyer is using your sales receipt as somebody to claim from) .
As others have advised you may be able to make an agreement with the insurance etc but only if (don't accept any liability until seeking legal advice) your buyer gets his purchase price (or his selling target price if he's reasonable) back from you, until then it's your buyer that has the legal right to buy the boat back as its him that's going to loss out if the boat is recovered, not you as you got your money back on it when you sold it. I say that as he could lose the boat and the money he paid you, at least until you are made to pay him back. At that point you then become the one that's out of pocket, so can either sue the guy you bought it from or offer to buy it back from the L/A at a much reduced price. If you sue the guy you got it from then he can do as above, and so on. It's a Mess!