CAR CLOCKERS are pretty much being allowed to act without fear of punishment, a newspaper investigation revealed today.
The Times said that over the previous five years there had been just 117 convictions from 140 prosecutions by local councils, which are responsible for tackling the crime, although it was believed that some two million cars had had their milometers altered.
Freedom of information requests made to all of Britain’s councils revealed that 20 per cent of them hadn’t looked into a case for five years, while another third had looked into under one a year.
A total of 1,300 cars – just 0.065 per cent of the number of clocked vehicles believed to be on the roads in Britain – comprised the successful cases.
The Times said there had been a boom in clocking, caused by the attraction of PCP contracts, with drivers facing bills of – for example – £1,200 for 10,000 extra miles and therefore being tempted to alter odometers. It reported that there were ‘hundreds of garages’ charging from just £40 for ‘digital mileage correction services’.
Because of this, 6.25 per cent of used cars had the wrong mileage last year, rising from five per cent three years ago, said vehicle history verifier HPI Check.
A vehicle’s value can also be hugely increased by private sellers and rogue dealers reducing mileages.
The Times reported the Local Government Association called clocking ‘a major fraud’ with ‘dangerous implications’.
It quoted Christopher Hargreaves, of trade website Licensed Transport Uncovered, which assisted with the research, as saying: ‘Councils are failing to protect the public by allowing criminal gangs and those who take out PCP agreements or low-mileage leasing deals to act with impunity, even though they have turned car-clocking into an industry.
‘The lack of cases, both investigated and prosecuted across the UK, result in fraudsters knowing they have little to no chance of being caught.’
In response, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute blamed massive budget cuts for making local teams unwilling to financially risk prosecuting.
Picture: Lynne Cameron/PA Archive/PA Images
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