The VIN is the Vehicle Identity Number, and curiously it isn't just a number - it's a mixture of letters and numbers and is found stamped into the chassis of the vehicle. It is 17 characters long and acts as the vehicle's unique identity code - no other vehicle with have this code.
It is very important as unlike registration numbers (which can be transferred to other vehicles), it can never be changed, and was assigned to the vehicle when it was produced.
The VIN will be stamped into the chassis of a vehicle, usually in the engine bay or beneath the plastic trim around the driver or passenger door opening.
The VIN is often repeated on other areas of the vehicle. You'll also find it on most models as a "Visible VIN" near the bottom of the windscreen:
You'll also find it on the top right of the second page of the V5 document, and you should ensure that it matches the one on the vehicle. If it doesn't - walk away!