A CONMAN who duped customers by ‘clocking’ cars to reduce mileage readings by more than 404,000 miles has been jailed.
Second-hand dealer Nicholas Jukes was called a ‘menace’ by Recorder David Melville QC.
He jailed the 44-year-old for 12 months following his conviction for a string of crimes relating to clocking odometers, which measure distance travelled.
Jukes thought he could get round the law by advertising the cars without mentioning the mileage and denied the 13 charges against him.
But a jury took just two hours and 18 minutes to find him guilty of six counts of fraud and one count of engaging in a commercial practice which was misleading under the Consumer Protection From Unfair Trading Regulations in relation to the sales.
No verdict was given on six alternative charges of engaging in an unfair or misleading commercial practice following Jukes’ trial, which lasted nine days.
Recorder David Melville QC, sentencing, said: ‘You don’t accept that you have done anything wrong.
‘Despite the jury’s verdict, you don’t appear to accept that this was fraud, dishonesty, over a period of one year.’
He added: ‘You are something of a menace.
‘This isn’t the first time you have been involved with brushes with the law.’
Jukes, of Bentham Way, Swanwick, sold six customers cars with a combined mileage purporting to be 505,000 through his firm Fareham Fleet and Finance Ltd in Fleet End Road, Warsash.
Odometer readings on each of the cars – which were sold between June 2008 and June 2009 –had been wound back.
Allegations against Jukes – who has previously been convicted in relation to vehicle clocking – came to light after a customer complained that he believed a Vauxhall Astra Merit bought from his dealership had been tampered with.
Trading Standards experts from Hampshire County Council launched a probe and Jukes was arrested.
David Lyons, defending Jukes, said in mitigation that the actual loss to customers was ‘nominal’.
He said: ‘The defendant had clearly previously got into trouble with the courts for clocking motor vehicles.
‘He adopted a particular style of business in this case with disclaimers.
‘What certainly did exist was a written disclaimer, so he had a written system over which he purchased these vehicles, the mileage was altered, they were advertised without mileage.’
A hearing is set to be held in October where Jukes could be ordered to repay the cash he made by conning customers under the Proceeds Of Crime Act.