STOCKTON Council today welcomed the sentencing of a car dealer for selling 'clocked' cars.
Charles Hollywood, aged 39, of Railway View, Darlington and formerly of St. John's Park, Stillington, sold numerous vehicles whose odometers had been wound back by thousands of miles.
Mr Hollywood, who traded mainly on the internet under the name Charlie Hollywood, admitted 10 offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (which replaced the Trade Descriptions Act) in a case brought by Stockton Borough Council's Trading Standards & Licensing Service.
Today, Teesside Crown Court imposed a nine month custodial sentence, suspended for two years. Mr Hollywood was also ordered to pay compensation of £1,300 to a customer who had part paid for a car and then withdrew from the sale when he found out the odometer had been tampered with.
Examples of cars sold by Hollywood included a Renault Clio, advertised with 48,000 miles on the clock, which had actually travelled in excess of 130,000 miles and a Vauxhall Vectra claimed to have only done 49,000 miles when its true mileage was more than 100,000 miles.
The motor trader also supplied unsuspecting buyers with falsified service history documents which appeared to verify the odometer readings.
In mitigation, the court heard Mr Hollywood had pleaded guilty at an early stage and there was no suggestion the cars he sold were dangerous and unroadworthy and he had no previous convictions.
Councillor Steve Nelson, Stockton Council's Cabinet Member for Housing and Community Safety said: "A car's mileage is a major consideration when people choose a vehicle. Traders need to ensure any descriptions they make are accurate. This is something they can do by making simple checks. Buyers can find their purchase is worth much less once its true mileage is revealed.
"Our Trading Standards officers will continue to vigorously enforce this legislation to protect innocent members of the public and honest traders."
Buyers can check the mileage of a vehicle by visiting the Vehicle & Operator Services Agency (VOSA) website www.motinfo.gov.uk and entering the registration number and the MOT station reference number found on the car's MOT certificate.