News item

Trading standards, police, VOSA and HMRC in car clocking operation

Carlisle Police launched an operation with trading standards, VOSA and HMRC to crack down on the fraudulent practice of lowering mileage on second hand cars which are sold to unsuspecting members of the public.

Five addresses where searched on 16 May in connection with an investigation into fraud offences where individuals buy cars at auctions, clock them and then sell them on with lower mileage.

The operation was successful with two men, one aged 23 and the other 21, both from Carlisle, being arrested in connection with these offences on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud. They are currently helping police with their enquiries.

Detective Chief Inspector Lee Johnson said: “Today’s operation sends out a strong message to anyone who thinks they can get away with tampering with cars – it is fraud and you won’t get away with it.

“Fraud is a serious offence and together with the community and partner agencies, police will continue to identify those involved and will target them to ensure that innocent customers don’t get stung.

“If you have any information about a crime or any suspicious activity in your area, please contact police on 101.”

A spokesperson from Trading Standards described how car ‘clocking' is the term giving to the practice of tampering with a vehicle's odometer so that it shows a lower mileage than that actually travelled.

Angela Jones, Cumbria County Council Trading Standards Manager said: “A car’s mileage is one of the factors which influence a potential purchaser’s decision to buy and the final price they will be willing to pay. When a consumer buys a clocked car they are likely to encounter problems with the vehicle much sooner than they may have expected. Tampering with a vehicle’s mileage and selling it on without declaring it is unfair and illegal.

“Unfortunately the trade in 'clocked' cars has been a problem for many years and it affects both consumers and honest motor dealers. Trading Standards advice to consumers is to check for excessive wear and tear on the driver's seat, steering wheel and foot pedals which may be inconsistent with the indicated mileage and examine the logbook, the car's service history and MOT certificates before you agree to buy the car. If you are any doubt walk away.
“Anyone who believes they have been sold a ‘clocked’ car can contact Trading Standards via Citizens Advice consumer service on 08454 04 05 06. For general advice on consumer matters go to” 

The Trading Standards Institute has called for car clocking to be banned and for an industry code to be introduced, so that businesses are on a level playing field and consumers have better protection when buying second hand cars.