AN MOT mechanic has been handed a suspended jail sentence after carrying out fraudulent tests that could have ended in ‘carnage’.
Former Paynes Road MOT employee Patrick Richardson booked tests for family and friends on the Southampton business’s system and carried them out at their homes, city magistrates were told.
That meant the 48-year-old couldn’t properly check the vehicle’s emisions and brakes as he didn’t have the necessary equipment, and manager John Mayhew was quoted by the Southern Daily Echo after the case as saying it ‘could have led to carnage’.
Richardson, of Sherfield English Road, Langford, who pleaded guilty to 20 charges of fraud by false representation, had been at Paynes Road MOT for nine years, but although he had left to work as a fence fitter he stayed on the garage’s books as holiday cover, meaning he could still access the MOT centre’s booking system.
He started his scam in February 2016, raking in up to £45 per test, but was rumbled by garage management after six months when they carried out new internal audits and realised that tests had been carried out on vehicles that hadn’t been there.
Labelling Richardson’s actions as ‘disgusting’, Mayhew added: ‘We as a company couldn’t have done more as we weren’t aware he was accessing the systems.’
Southampton JPs were told by Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency prosecutor Felicity Hind that what Richardson did was ‘unsafe’, while in mitigation Susan Ridge said he carried out the MOTs because the arrival of a baby had caused extra pressures financially, reported the newspaper.
Richardson, who had an earlier conviction for drink-driving, was given a 16-week jail sentence suspended for a year. He was also ordered to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work and pay £500 costs as well as a £115 victim surcharge.
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