[26 SEP 00]
CRIMES, FIRES & ACCIDENTS
Trading Standards Inquiry
The boss of a
Kenilworth garage has been fined £10,000 for obstructing trading
standards officers doing their job.
director of Selitar Limited, trading as Hillcrest Motor Company of
Kenilworth pleaded guilty yesterday to two offences of obstructing
a Trading Standards officer.
He was fined the
statutory maximum of £5,000 per offence at Mid-Warwickshire
Costs of £10,000
were also awarded following a successful prosecution by
Warwickshire County Councilís trading standards service.
received a complaint from a consumer who had bought a green
Montego diesel estate, advertised with power steering, in 1995
But the customer
later realised the vehicle did not have power steering and
complained, without success, to Mr Holton.
The garage boss
maintained the consumer had been mistaken, and that he had not
purchased the vehicle advertised with power steering, but an
identical one without this feature.
standards officers investigated, Mr Holton tried to convince them
the vehicle advertised with power steering did exist.
He showed them a
stock book with details of a vehicle with the same colour and
description and featuring power steering.
When pressed, Mr
Holton then produced an accident-damaged green Montego estate with
power steering. He maintained this was this Ďother carí.
This car had had
its identifying numbers removed after it came into Mr Holtonís
officers were later able to prove that the stock book entry was
They also showed
the Ďother carí had not only been acquired at a later date by
Mr Holton but discovered its true identity with help from a police
vehicle expert, proving there was no second car.
incidents formed the two offences for obstruction and Mr Holton
John Saunders QC
represented Mr Holton and provided the court with mitigating
He said the
traumatic experience of a prison term Mr Holton had served for
other offences relating to cars, may have behind his motive for
these actions. He also said the complainant had been difficult to