A car dealer that bought unroadworthy vehicles at auction for knock-down prices and sold them on for a profit without undertaking any repairs has been jailed, The Northern Echo has reported.
Andrew Robson, who was prosecuted for the same thing in 2013, was repeatedly warned by Trading Standards officials about his trading methods, until he was finally charged last year.
The 34-year-old offered to have repairs done or give a refund but neither promise was met.
Some customers were no more than two miles into their journey after buying from Robson, before their cars developed faults.
Teesside Crown Court heard how many of the vehicles he sold were legitimate and roadworthy, but Stockton Borough Council had received complaints from at least ten people.
Robson admitted fraudulent trading and was jailed for ten months.
Judge Sean Morris told him: “You fobbed people off with a pack of lies.
“You are an inveterate liar when it comes to business.
“They were warning you time and time again.”
A man who bought a Mazda 5 after seeing it advertised on eBay as in “good working condition” found the turbocharger was broken and it had a heavy oil leak.
An elderly customer who wanted a MINI One for his grandson paid £2,900 for it, but it broke down within an hour, with the electrics failing and oil leaking.
Prosecutor Jonathan Walker said Robson got the car back and made numerous promises to refund the customer, but never did.
Inquiries with the previous owner revealed the vehicle had been faulty when he part-exchanged it, with the engine management light coming on and going off regularly.
The investigation also showed that during a period of more than 22 months, Robson had spent £471,000 at auctions and sold almost all of the cars for twice what he paid.
A woman looking for a motorhome came across a camper van being sold by Robson and paid a £250 deposit on the understanding he would put it through its MOT.
She travelled by train to the North-East with her husband and two dogs, hoping to pick up the van and head off on holiday, but the test had not been done.
After taking it to a local MOT centre, the couple were told it was a “death-trap”, with insecure seatbelt fittings, three seats removed and replaced with a passenger seat on wooden batons screwed into the chassis.
A woman bought a Land Rover Freelander advertised on Gumtree after Robson told her it would be fine for towing a caravan.
However, it was found to have faulty brakes, needed two new tyres.
What’s more, a short while into the journey, the Land Rover lost power and the back axle seized, leaving a £1,000 bill for it to be recovered and returned.
Another customer bought a Peugeot 206, but it soon developed faults with the gearbox, and the courtesy car provided by Robsob “blew up”, said Mr Walker.
A Vauxhall Corsa advertised on Facebook as having a valid MOT certificate did not have one, but the trader insisted it was “spot on”.
The new owner was driving a friend and three children when the brakes failed, and Mr Walker said: “It was a complete death-trap and an accident waiting to happen.”
Ayman Khokher, mitigating, admitted father-of-one Robson had deceived people with “a cavalier approach” and it was “sheer good fortune” none of the drivers were injured or killed.
He added: “It is a sad tale of a young man who hoped to channel a boyhood passion into a business, but the economic climate was against him.
“The odds were always stacked against him and unsurprisingly he struggled to make ends meet.
“Frustrated by his misfortune, the clear line between a legitimate trader and downright fraud unfortunately became blurred.”
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