Scambusters team aids in arrest of large-scale car clocking operatives
The National Trading Standards Board (NTSB) funded Scambusters team aided in an arrest as part of a multi-agency investigation in to car clocking. It follows a series of raids carried out the morning of Tuesday 21 January, led by Redbridge Council’s trading standards team, police and officers from Transport for London.
The investigation was launched following a number of allegations of car ‘clocking’. High value cars are being bought and used for leasing and then sold on. The investigation is looking into claims that vehicles were ‘clocked’ back by 1000s of miles before being sold either through the trade or to private individuals.
Throughout last year, it is suspected that nearly 200 vehicles were sold by the companies being investigated. These vehicles are being examined as part of the investigation.
"This is a shocking example of the type of criminal activity Trading Standards and Scambusters encounter day in, day out,' said Consumer Minister, Jenny Willott. 'This raid sends out a clear message to those looking to break the law – we will catch you and bring you to justice.
“Car buyers should always do their homework to stop them being ripped off. Through Trading Standards’ ‘Check it, don’t regret it’ campaign, car buyers can report any suspicious cars to the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 08454 04 05 06. They will then investigate claims against rogue businesses and make sure consumers get a fair deal.”
The Met Police have arrested one suspect and served a restraint order to suspend business activity.
Councillor Ruth Clark, cabinet member for Planning and Public Protection, said, “I am absolutely delighted with the results of this operation. Our trading standards officers have put in a huge amount of time and resources to investigating this issue. Car clocking can be very difficult for members of the public to spot but means they would be paying well above the value of the car unwittingly. I’d like to thank members of the public for their information and reports, which helped us launch this investigation.”
To avoid buying a car that has been clocked, consumers should consider using an independent mileage verification service. These check to see when the car has had any official mileage recorded on a number of databases. When buying a car look at abnormal levels of wear and tear around the seat and steering wheel and ask yourself if the price is too good to be true.
If you think you’ve bought a car that has been clocked, report it to Trading Standards through the Citizens Advice consumer service by calling 08454 04 05 06.
For more information, please contact the Trading Standards Institute press office on 0845 6089430 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors
The National Trading Standards Board (NTSB) is a group of senior and experienced local government heads of trading standards, representing all trading standards services across England and Wales. The Board has been set up by the Government as part of changes to the consumer protection landscape and an enhanced role for trading standards.
NTSB provides leadership influence, support and resources to help combat consumer and business detriment locally, regionally and nationally.
Scambusters is a NTSB funded project aimed at targeting rogue trading, doorstep crime and scams, providing a support across England and Wales through eight regionally based teams:
1. Central England Trading Standards Authorities (CeNTSA)
2. North East Trading Standards Authorities (NETSA)
3. Trading Standards East Midlands (TSEM)
4. Trading Standards North West (TSNW)
5. Tri Region Scambusters (TRS), on behalf of Trading Standards South East Ltd (TSSEL), East of England Trading Standards Association (EETSA) and London Trading Standards Association (LOTSA)
6. Trading Standards Partnership South West (SWERCOTS)
7. Yorkshire and Humber Trading Standards Group (YAHTSG) and
8. Wales Heads of Trading Standards (WHoTS)
There are separate arrangements in place in Scotland.
DATE: 24 January 2014