The owner of a garage who reportedly cost customers thousands of pounds after failing to carry out pre-paid work, has changed his name and disappeared with a customer’s £18,000 van, according to the Ely Standard.
Two years after Les Crofts closed his workshop in Ely, Cambridgeshire and leaving a number of angry customers trying to get their money back, he opened up another workshop at a separate site and changed his name legally to Leslie Lynch.
However it’s now been reported that Mr Lynch has now gone from Earith Business Park, where he had traded as Earith Car and Commercials, together with a customer’s van which Lynch was converting into a flatbed.
The customer said: “It is England, it is the 21st century, but it feels like the nineties in Russia, where people could commit such crimes without any punishment.
After contacting Cambs Police, the owner of the van was told that was a civil matter and out of their hands.
A spokesperson for Cambridgeshire Police said: “We were contacted on January 22 with reports of the theft of a Vauxhall Movano in Meadow Drove, Earith.
“Last year the victim paid for work to be done on the van and this had not been completed or the vehicle returned.
“Officers investigated the matter, but concluded it was a civil rather than a criminal matter.”
The man, who like many of his customers, found Lynch on eBay and trusted him to convert his 2015 white Vauxhall Movano panel van into a flat bed delivery truck said: “I paid a £2,000 deposit with a further £1,500 to be paid on completion of works.
“This was over a year ago, he promised to finish the work in three months.
“After three months he said that a couple more weeks was required.
“He kept repeating this to me for a year, so in January 2019 I called police to report a crime case.
“After such a long time waiting I don’t have my van.
“Nobody knows where it is.”
The man is still paying a loan for his van and has had to borrow money from a friend to continue running his recovery vehicle business.
The father of two said: “I am trying to run my business.
“I’m a family man with two young children and I’m out of pocket by £20,000 but nobody seems able to do anything.”