Suspended jail terms for car ‘clockers’

TWO Weston men who admitted removing one-and-a-half million miles from cars they ‘clocked’ to deceive buyers have been handed suspended prison sentences.

Nathan Sutton, of Park Place, and Stephen Keeley, of The Paddocks in Uphill, were this week sentenced for the crime at Bristol Crown Court.

The number of miles they removed from car odometers to boost the vehicles’ value was the equivalent to driving 60 times around the world.

Sutton, aged 40, and 48-year-old Keeley both pleaded guilty to nine counts of altering the mileage records of cars they sold in what has been described as a ‘sophisticated scam’.

The court heard how the duo had sold those nine cars for �55,650 – but with 10 other charges asked to be taken into consideration, the total value of their fraud was much higher.

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Between December 2008 and November 2010, Sutton and Keeley bought high-mileage vehicles from auctions, before altering odometers and securing fake MoT certificates and service histories to support the deceit.

They then sold the cars through Autotrader – posing as private sellers to avoid the legal responsibilities of a professional trader.

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However, Trading Standards began an investigation in response to complaints from two customers.

Sutton initially claimed he was unaware of the mileage discrepancies in the cars he sold, but his handwriting was later identified in service books used to mislead buyers.

Keeley, when interview, admitted the two had been clocking the vehicles.

Sutton was sentenced to 52 weeks in prison suspended for two years, and ordered to carry out 250 hours’ unpaid community work, while Keeley received 48 weeks in prison, also suspended for two years. He was ordered to obey a six-month curfew.

Costs and compensation will be decided in a further hearing in April.

Cllr Peter Bryant, North Somerset Council’s executive member whose portfolio includes Trading Standards, said: “This was a sophisticated scam affecting consumers from all walks of life. Few knew they had been conned. Many more consumers may have been affected and remain unaware of their predicament.

“This case should act as a warning that we will investigate and prosecute.”

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