A Fife man has been jailed for clocking the mileage on cars and then selling them on.
At Dunfermline Sheriff Court Joseph Lowther (37) was sentenced to 215 days imprisonment on 7th June.
Lowther advertised cars on Gumtree. Following a number of complaints made to Fife Trading Standards from people who had bought these vehicles, it was discovered that the mileage had been vastly reduced.
Police Scotland became involved once the scale of the operation was uncovered and a large-scale investigation followed.
Detective Inspector Stewart Andrew of Fife Divisional Pro-Active Team said: “At face value Joseph Lowther presented himself as the friendly helpful salesman offering vehicles at extremely competitive rates.
“In reality he is a conman who put lives at risk by selling vehicles which were not roadworthy. His scheme not only affected customers who lost life-changing amounts of money but also had a detrimental effect on legitimate local businesses.
“Good partnership working between Police Scotland and Fife Council Trading Standards has led to Lowther receiving a prison sentence for his criminal activity. This case should be a lesson to all those who may be involved in this type of activity.”
Trading Standards Service Manager Dawn Adamson said: “Clocking with the intent to sell is a criminal activity.
“Unscrupulous car dealers can make big profits from buying cheap, high mileage vehicles then clocking them before reselling them.
“A clocked car will show a lower mileage than the vehicle has actually travelled but it will have the wear and tear of the high mileage vehicle that it truly is, which could lead to potentially unsafe vehicles being on the road.
“Not only will a buyer have paid over the odds for the car, but the vehicle may require expensive repairs.
“The buyer is also likely to lose out should they try to trade in a clocked car. Reputable car dealers are highly unlikely to accept a trade-in they believe to be clocked.
“Put simply, rogue traders who are involved in car clocking are only interested in taking people’s money and have a complete disregard for consumers’ statutory rights.”
A vehicle’s MOT history can be checked online by anyone. Just visit www.gov.uk/browse/driving/vehicle-tax-mot-insurance If anyone is concerned that the mileage may not be genuine on a vehicle they should contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 040506 for advice.”
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