Police have foiled an attempt to smuggle a stolen luxury car using donkeys to pull it across a river.

The suspects fled into the bushes from South Africa towards Zimbabwe after their efforts to free the car from the sand failed, local police say.

Last December a vehicle stolen in Durban was recovered on the same river, Limpopo, attached to a group of donkeys.

Local police are investigating whether a syndicate is behind the new practice.

Police says a Mercedez Benz C220 was recovered on the river bed close to Musina.The suspects had put metal sheets under the wheels to make it easier for the donkeys to pull.

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“The suspects were using donkeys to pull the car across the river‚ but our members were just in time to pounce on them after the donkeys were apparently no longer able to pull it through the sand,” Mr Mojapelo is quoted in local media as saying.

The donkeys were unharmed.

It is not clear why the thieves do not simply drive the car into Zimbabwe but one reason might be modern cars are fitted with a tracking device which uses satellite tracking to locate a vehicle, if stolen.

The Star.