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Crown court: used car gang 'made threats to customers' health'

A gang that ran a used car business has been found guilty of defrauding its customers.

Following an eight week trial at Leeds Crown Court, Kirk Claus (47), of Mytholmroyd, Craig Firth (51) of Queensbury, Michael Adams (41) of Shipley, David Ingham (42) of Halifax, and David Kelly (28) of Stockport, were all found guilty by a jury of conspiring to defraud customers of Chequered Flag Car Sales and other companies and businesses trading from the premises in Halifax Road, Hipperholme, West Yorkshire.

All five were also convicted of money laundering.

The investigation was carried out by the Yorkshire and the Humber Trading Standards Group Scambuster Team supported by officers from West Yorkshire and City of York trading standards services and West Yorkshire Police.

Colin Rumford, a spokesman for the Scambuster Team, said the investigation was passed to them after a number of complaints about the garage, Chequered Flag Car Sales, were made to the Consumer Direct helpline between September 2009 to August 2010.

“We received various complaints which included selling written insurance ‘write off’ vehicles that would be repaired to various standards, mostly poor and portrayed as being immaculate inside and out. False mileage readings and vehicles being sold with ‘full manufacturer’s service history’ when no such history existed.

“Vehicles were also sold with false warranties. When the buyer went back with the vehicle depending on their sex they were met with insults of a sexual nature or threats to their health.”

The judge told the defendants that a prison sentence was likely.

The defendants will be sentenced on Thursday, September 27.

June Claus, the wife of Kirk was acquitted of money laundering during the hearing.

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