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Thursday, 18 December 2014

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Carlisle trader who illegally clocked cars jailed

A rogue trader who illegally clocked cars to con buyers has been jailed.

Dowbeck Road Carlisle police raid photo
Police enter a house on Dowbeck Road as part of fraud investigations

Ross Neville was snared in a major operation involving police and trading standards.

He reduced the mileage of vehicles he was selling and falsified service records.

The 22-year-old, of Dowbeck Road, off Wigton Road, Carlisle, pleaded guilty to 15 counts of fraud by false representation when he appeared at Carlisle Crown Court. He was jailed for four months.

The case has prompted a warning from enforcers to car dealers that they will come down hard on those caught trying to con people about what they’re buying. They’ve also urged buyers to be vigilant when considering purchases.

Detective Chief Inspector Lesley Hanson, of Cumbria Police, said: “This operation sends out a strong message to anyone who thinks they can get away with tampering with cars that it’s fraud and you won’t.

“Fraud is a serious offence. We will continue to identify those involved and will target them to ensure innocent customers don’t get stung.”

Forty police officers, trading standards staff and officials from the Vehicle Operator Services Agency and HM Revenue and Customs were involved in a string of raids, during which Neville was arrested.

They were investigating fraud cases where people buy cars at auction, “clock them” by lowering the mileage on them, and then send them on for sale with the reduced mileage indicated.

Angela Jones, manager of Cumbria County Council’s trading standards team, says anyone in doubt of a car’s history should walk away.

She said: “A car’s mileage is one of the factors which influence a potential purchaser’s decision to buy and the price they’re willing to pay.

“Tampering with a vehicle’s mileage and selling it on without declaring it is unfair and illegal.”

Expert advice when buying a second-hand car includes checking for excessive wear and tear on the driver’s seat, steering wheel and foot pedals which may be inconsistent with the indicated mileage.

“Examine the logbook, the car’s service history and MOT certificates before you agree to buy the car,” Ms Jones added.

Anyone who believes they’ve bought a car that has been clocked should call trading standards via the Citizens’ Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 040506. Police can be contacted on 101.

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