Rogue traders whose “car clocking” was exposed in a BBC sting have been sentenced to community service.
Peterborough brothers Abbas Ahmed and Bilal Ahmed and their uncle Rahil Ahmed between them pleaded guilty to 13 counts of selling and advertising cars for sale which had their mileage reduced in order to boost their value, according to the Peterborough Evening Telegraph.
Rahil Ahmed (31), of Lutton Grove, was sentenced to a 26-week jail sentence, suspended for two years, ordered to carry out 200 hours unpaid work as well as pay £1,795 in costs to Peterborough City Council by Huntingdon Crown Court yesterday.
His nephews, Abbas and Bilal were sentenced to 200 hours’ unpaid work each.
The court heard how Rahil Ahmed ran a business which bought cars through British Car Auctions and sold them on in Auto Trader.
However, when the recession hit, trade worsened and with help from his nephews Abbas (21) and Bilal (19), of Atherstone Avenue, between November 2009 and March 2010 Rahil’s business began to sell cars which had their odometers altered.
Four people who bought cars from the Ahmeds made complaints to Peterborough City Council and BBC Watchdog, with the trio featuring on Rogue Traders in May last year.
One of the buyers, Irishman Paul Barker, travelled to England to pick up the Honda Accord he had paid £5,100 for after being told it had travelled 77,000 miles.
However, mechanics later told Barker that the odometer should have read 193,000 miles, meaning the car’s value was more than £1,000 less than he paid.
The court heard that Abbas and Bilal Ahmed were found to have used a fake name, Ashley Singh, when dealing with customers which Abbas’s defence barrister Sally Hobson said was because buyers were more forthcoming if they see an “Anglicised” name.
But Judge Peter De Mille did not accept that reason, saying: “It was dishonest and prevented customers from tracking them down.”
Abbas pleaded guilty to one count of selling a clocked vehicle and three counts of advertising them.
Bilal admitted three counts of selling clocked vehicles.
Rahil meanwhile pleaded guilty to three counts of selling clocked vehicles and three of advertising them.
Timothy Bowden, representing Balil Ahmed, said his defendant recognised the impact of his crime and felt “humiliated”.
Rahil’s defence barrister Charles Snelling said: “My client had built up his business from the ground but as a result of the recession began to lose money, which is how he came to be involved in criminality.”
Andrew White, senior trading standards officer for the council, warned would-be rogue traders. He said: “This case highlights the extent to which some people will go to make profit at the expense of ordinary unsuspecting members of the public.
“We will continue to investigate and prosecute anyone who is found to be defrauding the public in this way.”