A car trader operating in Enfield has been ordered to pay £62,550 in compensation to victims after being involved in a ‘car clocking’ scam.
Martin Stokes of Malvern Road was sentenced by a judge at Wood Green Crown Court on 19 October to 21 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, ordered to pay £62,550 compensation to victims, a contribution of £20,000 in costs to the prosecution and to pay a victim surcharge of £140.
Accomplices Patrick Stokes of Malvern Road and David Boyle of New River Crescent also pleaded guilty to their role involving two cars each (four of the 14 sold) under sections 1 and 2 of the Fraud Act 2006. They received a 12-month community order with 200 hours unpaid work and Stokes was ordered to a 20-day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement. Both were ordered to make contributions of £1,000 to the costs of prosecution and to pay victim surcharges of £85, each.
The three defendants were found to be involved in a car business which purchased vehicles, reduced the odometer readings and then sold the cars on with false mileage displays. This is known as car clocking. Vehicles were purchased on a trade account owned by MS Motors, of which Martin Stokes identified himself as ‘The Boss’.
Purchasers travelled from all across the country to view the cars for sale that have been advertised on Autotrader and Gumtree. The defendants had also supplied forged service history books and MOT certificates. Enfield Council’s Trading Standards team was alerted to the scam in September 2016 after receiving several complaints from members of the public about cars that were being sold on Enfield’s streets. Officers were able to find evidence of 14 vehicles that had been clocked within a period of 18 months from the beginning of 2016. However, the 14 vehicles were a small proportion of their total criminal activity. A total of 148 vehicles were found to show reduced mileage after the vehicles had been purchased on the MS Motors account.
Enfield Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Guney Dogan, said: “This was a very complicated case, which relied on a number of officers and Enfield Council’s legal team working together to get to a successful prosecution. I would like to thank each one of them for their hard work. Unscrupulous businesses not only trick and manipulate individual members of the public, they can tarnish a whole industry of honest men and women trying to make a decent living which is why it’s so important to bring these criminals to justice.”
Andrew Clooney, Chair of the National Trading Standards funded Tri-Region Investigation Team, said: “This successful investigation is a great example of the collaboration and partnership working between the Tr- Region Investigation team and Enfield Trading Standards tackling fraud and scams directed at consumers across the country. The practice of altering vehicle mileages (car clocking) is not only illegal, but could endanger lives. Criminals have no respect for local authority borders, but together, as this case has clearly demonstrated, we can successfully prosecute offenders and protect consumers where suspected offending is reported.”