Rogue car dealer sold death trap car twice

A rogue motor trader convicted for selling a “death trap” car patched it up before taking thousands from another unsuspecting customer for it, a court heard.

Steven Hickman, trading as Shelby’s of Netherton, was warned he could face jail after appearing before the courts for the second time yesterday (Mon) in relation to the Subaru Forester.

The 62-year-old was convicted of selling the “unroadworthy” vehicle in March last year and ordered to fully refund the £3,500 he received for it.

Dudley Magistrates Court heard as a result the Subaru was returned to him – and Hickman sold it to another customer in April for £4,300.

He described it in the sale advert as having “no nasty surprises on the inside and drives very well”.

But the vehicle broke down and had to be recovered within hours of it being sold after the suspension collapsed due to rust, the court was told.

Dudley Trading Standards was called in to investigate the car dealer for a second time and enlisted the help of a vehicle expert to examine the Subaru.

The expert found the underneath of the car had been painted in a thin layer of black bitumen – something he concluded had been done to conceal the level of rust.

He said the car was “unroadworthy” and “dangerous”, the court was told.

Hickman, of Seymour Road, Lye, appeared at Dudley Magistrates Court this week. He pleaded guilty to engaging in a misleading commercial practice and engaging in a commercial practice which contravened the requirements of professional diligence.

The trader also admitted failing to act with due care when supplying a product, and permitting another to use a motor vehicle when its use involved a danger of injury.

District Judge Graham Wilkinson said Hickman was “willing to sell a death trap” and warned the defendant a custodial sentence was the likely outcome for his offending.

The case was committed to Wolverhampton Crown Court, where Hickman will be sentenced on October 23. Councillor Ian Bevan, cabinet member responsible for trading standards, said:

“This is a shocking case. Hickman had already been brought before the courts in relation to this car and was left under no illusions that it was dangerous.

“He should have scrapped it or repaired it properly, but instead he patched it up and sold it on again, this time for even more, while knowing it was, as the judge described it, a potential death trap.

“Dudley Trading Standards will not hesitate to investigate complaints where consumers have been misled or where they have been sold a dangerous vehicle.”


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