An ex-mechanic who left his role working at an independent garage to “earn more money” fitting fences has been handed a 16 week prison sentence after he was found to be accessing the garage’s computer system to log MOT passes for friends and family, local reports say.
Patrick Richardson, who had previously worked at Paynes Road MOT in Southampton, carried out fake tests on vehicles at their owners’ homes, sometimes charging £45 per completed test.
He began logging passes in February 2016 but was caught six months later when the garage noticed that MOTs had been completed for cars that had not actually been in the workshop.
Richardson had been employed by the garage for nine years but remained on the test centre’s books as holiday cover after he quit the role to try and earn more money as a fence fitter.
Felicity Hind, prosecutor for the DVSA, said Richardson’s actions were “unsafe” and “could have had an impact on the public”.
Fraud by false representation
However, Susan Ridge, mitigating, said Richardson was forced to carry out the MOTs because he faced financial pressures following the birth of his child.
At Southampton Magistrates’ Court, he admitted 20 counts of fraud by false representation.
Speaking to the Daily Echo, Paynes Road MOT manager, John Mayhew said: “We were told by the company which runs our garage to carry out new internal audits so we did that.
“When we checked the logs we found that Richardson had been doing the checks on his mobile phone.
“We as a company couldn’t have done more as we weren’t aware he was accessing the systems.
“We never even saw the cars.
“It’s terrible and a shortcoming because any tester can carry out tests and there is no scope for them to be checked.”
Andy Rice, DVSA head of counter-fraud and investigations, said: “We take the quality of MOT testing extremely seriously, have carried out almost 10,000 visits, assessments and re-examinations and continue to work with the industry to improve test quality.
“Issuing fraudulent MOTs means increasing the number of unroadworthy, even dangerous vehicles on our roads.
“We’ll withdraw the right to provide MOTs, and will not hesitate in prosecuting garages and testers who put the travelling public at risk.”
Richardson was sentenced to 16 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, and 80 hours’ unpaid work.
He must also pay £500 costs and a £115 victim surcharge.
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