Northern Ireland

Limavady car dealer guilty of clocking vehicles

A Limavady car dealer has been found guilty of selling or offering for sale six 'clocked' cars to consumers.

Michael Alexander Gahan, formerly of Petrie Place, Limavady, admitted three charges under the Fraud Act and 10 under consumer protection regulations.

Trading Standards investigators found that Gahan - who will be sentenced at a later date - had sold four vehicles with altered mileages to consumers.

One had a previous mileage of 168,996 miles reduced to 76,000.

Gahan also offered a further clocked car for sale to two Trading Standards officers as well as advertising a sixth for sale on the Used Cars NI website.

One consumer purchased a second hand vehicle with about 70,000 miles on the odometer from Gahan in November 2010, after seeing an advert in the Autotrader magazine.

Limavady Magistrates' Court was told the consumer later discovered it had been clocked, having a previously recorded mileage of 145,000 miles when sold at an auction house in England in September 2010.

A further car sold by Mr Gahan had a previous mileage of 168,996 miles reduced to 76,000 while another had been altered from at least 166,862 miles down to 72,000 miles.

A fourth clocked car was sold to another consumer.

False service books

Gahan also admitted supplying false service history books with four of the cars and having in his possession three ink service stamps bearing the impressions of other vehicle specialist and mechanical service businesses in order to legitimise the incorrect mileage.

Damien Doherty of the Trading Standards Service said: "This is one of the worst cases of car clocking that the department has seen for many years.

"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 Gahan.

"He purchased cars with high mileages, reduced the mileage and sold them to unsuspecting consumers in Northern Ireland with the sole intention of committing fraud."

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