Northern Ireland

Belfast car dealer Conn Keenan sold five clocked vehicles

A car dealer who sold five 'clocked' vehicles has been fined £2,250 at Belfast Magistrates' Court.

Conn Keenan, from Belfast, trading as CK Cars and other names, was found guilty of nine charges.

An investigation arose after a customer bought a vehicle with 84,000 miles on the odometer from Keenan in June 2009.

When the complainant went to trade in the vehicle he found it had been a previously recorded mileage of 136,736 when sold in England in May 2009.

Investigations by the Trading Standards Service revealed that Keenan had sold a further four vehicles to consumers who had no idea that the mileages had been altered on the cars they had purchased.

Keenan also used various aliases and trading names in an attempt to conceal his identity, but he was positively identified by the majority of his victims.

In each case, the service book supplied with the vehicle was also false and forged vehicle manufacturer service stamps were used in order to legitimise the incorrect mileage.

Damien Doherty of the Trading Standards Service said: "The number of vehicles uncovered by this investigation and the degree by which their mileages had been altered, points to a systematic clocking operation by Mr Keenan.

"He purchased cars, mainly from auction houses in England, reduced the mileage and sold them to unsuspecting consumers in Northern Ireland. On average, he has removed approximately 50,000 miles from each vehicle."

Mr Doherty said it was not difficult for conmen to wipe the true mileage from a vehicle.

"Rogue car sellers can buy the equipment to clock cars themselves for around £100. Even though digital odometers were introduced to cut down on the number of cars being clocked, the reality is that they can be altered just as easy as the old analogue ones," he said.

"Trading Standards is becoming increasingly alarmed at the scale of the problem. There appears to be car clocker or a team of car clockers in every town and city in Northern Ireland."

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites