Car dealer based in village near Banbury jailed after admitting fraud offences

The Warwickshire Justice Centre, where the Warwickshire Magistrates' Court is based. The couple will appear here on May 11.
The Warwickshire Justice Centre, where the Warwickshire Magistrates' Court is based. The couple will appear here on May 11.

A Warwickshire car dealer and mechanic have both been given jail terms following a successful prosecution by Warwickshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service.

User car dealer Connan Alexander Harvey, 28, formerly trading as Alex Harvey Specialist Cars in Priors Marston, admitting to clock and misdescribing cars and forging document in order to conceal the crime.

Harvey also pleaded guilty to failing to act with professional diligence, in that he failed to provide vehicles that were roadworthy, failed to respond promptly to complaints by unsatisfied customers and failed to carry out proper checks on the history of the vehicles being offered for sale (such as whether they were insurance write-offs or subject to existing finance agreements).

A mechanic he used, Amit Mistry, 38, of Timkin Way, Daventry, also admitted to fabricating or altering vehicle documents.

At a sentencing at the Leamington Spa Justice Centre on March 2, Harvey was sentenced to 12 months and Mistry given a six-month sentence.

Complaints from buyers led Warwickshire Trading Standards to look into Harvey’s business.

Trading Standards Officers received numerous complaints concerning Harvey’s business practices between November 2012 and February 2014.

Harvey admitted to arranging for the mileage reading to be wound back on an Audi TT from 101,369 to 72,299 before it was sold. He also admitted selling another Audi TT, knowing that the mileage was wrong. The mileage was advertised as 79,000 but in reality it was 147,464.

He described another vehicle he sold as having good tyres, a new cam belt and a 12 month MOT. The buyer later found that none of these statements were true. The cam belt had not been recently changed, the MOT had only two months to run and the tyres were close to their legal limit.

In mitigation Mr Brook, representing Mr Harvey said that his client was of good character, had no previous convictions, had shown remorse and had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity. Miss Hobson, representing Mr Mistry said that her client was genuinely remorseful.

Councillor John Horner, Warwickshire County Council’s portfolio holder for community safety, said: “This was a very serious case whereby consumers, some of whom had saved long and hard to afford a car, were defrauded out of many thousands of pounds. I’m delighted that Warwickshire Trading Standards was able to take action to protect consumers.”

Councillor Philip Johnson, chairman of the Warwickshire County Council’s overview and scrutiny committee, added: “Warwickshire Trading Standards receives more complaints about used cars than anything else. Officers devote a great deal of time and resources to helping traders understand and comply with the law. However, when traders consistently fail to heed the advice they are given, enforcement action can be taken.”

Visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/tradingstandards for more information about the county’s work.