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Local car dealer pleads guilty

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A dodgy car dealer has pleaded guilty to fraud and selling a dangerous vehicle in a case brought to court by Dudley Trading Standards.

Paul Hale of Avenue Road, Rowley Regis, who traded as Koolkustoms in Halesowen and specialised in campervan conversions, was in Wolverhampton Crown Court on Monday November 7.

He pleaded guilty to two acts of fraud and one count of selling a dangerous vehicle with defective brakes and wheels that could have become detached while the vehicle was in motion.

The case came to light after the consumer had used the vehicle on a day trip and one of the front tyres had blown.  After taking it to a local garage, the consumer was advised the vehicle had major faults.

The case was reported to Dudley Trading Standards and they asked an independent vehicle expert to assess the scale of the problem.  

The vehicle expert found it “difficult to believe that work of such a low standard was carried out by a professional company specialising in camper van conversions”. 

The vehicle expert also reported that wheel bolts were too short making it ‘extremely likely’ that a wheel would become detached whilst in motion.

There was excessive corrosion in a large number of areas, a defective horn and an unsecured gas cylinder fitted as part of the conversion.

Hale admitted fraudulently stating that the vehicle had undergone a professional refurbishment and claiming that the sale was a ‘private sale’ to make a gain for himself and avoid having to refund money to the consumer.

Councillor Ian Bevan, cabinet member responsible for trading standards, said:

This prosecution shows that Dudley Trading Standards will not tolerate traders who evade their responsibilities and risk people’s lives by putting dangerous vehicles on the road.
Thanks to the diligence of the garage, the major faults on this vehicle were spotted and thankfully no one was injured.

The sentencing hearing will take place at Wolverhampton Crown Court on December 21.

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