THREE mechanics have been given suspended jail sentences and together with a fourth ordered to pay more than £18,000 in costs for issuing fraudulent MOT certificates.
The scam took place at Gallows Corner MOTs in Romford, Greater London, owned by Mark Huckstepp, who employed his son, also called Mark, as well as Anthony Hinds, and Jagdeep Lotey.
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) was tipped off about the garage issuing MOT certificates for vehicles it had never inspected, so investigators conducted a surveillance operation, monitoring cars entering and leaving the test centre.
Over the course of the week the operation took place, the DVSA investigators saw 23 vehicles arrive for an MOT but the garage issued a total of 103 MOT certificates – 48 of which were for cars that hadn’t been tested for up to two years.
All four mechanics pleaded guilty to fraud by misrepresentation, and three of them were sentenced at Harrow Crown Court, pictured.
Huckstepp senior, of Dixon Close, Beckton, was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for 18 months, ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and told to pay £5,777 in costs plus a £140 victim surcharge.
Huckstepp junior, of Lodge Lane, Grays, received a sentence of four months in custody, also suspended for 18 months, and told to undertake 150 hours’ unpaid work as well as pay £5,677 costs and a £115 victim surcharge.
Hinds, of Manford Cross, Chigwell, was given a sentence of six months’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, and directed to do 150 hours’ unpaid work plus pay £5,580 costs and a victim surcharge of £115.
Lotey, of Tavistock Gardens, Ilford, had his case dealt with entirely by Willesden magistrates and was ordered to carry out 175 hours of unpaid work and pay £1,000 in costs.
In addition, all four were stripped of the authority to carry out MOT tests for the maximum time period of five years.
After the case, Gareth Llewellyn, chief executive of the DVSA, said: ‘DVSA is committed to helping keep vehicles safe to drive. We take the quality of MOT testing extremely seriously, have carried out almost 10,000 visits, assessments and re-examinations and continue to work with the industry to improve test quality.
‘Issuing fraudulent MOTs means increasing the number of unroadworthy, even dangerous vehicles on our roads. We’ll withdraw the right to provide MOTs, and will not hesitate in prosecuting garages who put the travelling public at risk.’
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