Second hand car dealer jailed over mileage scam

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A CROOKED car dealer who altered MOT certificates and lied about mileage and the condition of vehicles in advertisements has been jailed.

Christopher Christoforou was given a six month sentence over the dodgy deals he carried out as the owner of Sandmoor Motors, in Birstall, near Leeds.

Christoforou, 49, pleaded guilty to 26 offences relating to engaging in misleading practices.

Leeds Crown Court heard the offences related to him falsely advertising vehicle mileages, blanking out advisory items from MOT certificates and not declaring insurance write off status to customers.

On five occasions he also described vehicles as “absolutely fantastic” despite them being unroadworthy due to having faulty tyres and brakes.

Michael Walsh, prosecuting, said West Yorkshire Trading Standards received a number of complaints from consumers about vehicles having much higher mileages than advertised. Auto Trader also contacted trading standards over Christoforou using misleading information to sell vehicles. Mr Walsh said officers carried out a random inspection of 20 vehicles at Christoforou’s premises on Leeds Road in May last year.

Nine vehicles were found to have higher mileages than stated on his business website - for one of the vehicles the difference was 46,000 miles. MOT certificates had also been altered.

Christoforou also had amended online adverts to the correct mileage after a sale had been agreed.

The court heard Christoforou has previous convictions for dishonesty. Recorder Simon Batiste described Christofou’s offending as “wholesale dishonesty.”

He said: “The message has to go out that people trading in used cars and behaving in such a thoroughly dishonest way as you did, that the courts will not accept it.”

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