A car dealer who sold a ‘dangerous’ cut-and-shut Ford Escort has been ordered to pay nearly £8,000.
Darren Van de Weg appeared at Worthing Magistrates’ Court on March 20 after an investigation by West Sussex Trading Standards, and admitted selling the unsafe car, which was made up of two vehicles welded together.
The 44-year-old, of Alinora Drive, Goring by Sea, who is a director of DK Garage and Classics Ltd, was fined £923 and told to pay £5,435 compensation, £1,409 costs plus a £92 victim surcharge – making a total of £7,859.
West Sussex Trading Standards said the person who bought the Ford from the dealership at Link Farm, Pulborough Road, Wiggonholt found it was a cut-and-shut after arranging for restoration work to be carried out on it.
The court was told that the Escort was inspected by a DVSA officer who said it was ‘probably in the worst condition I have ever seen in my 20 years in the job’, and that ‘the structural integrity of the vehicle was totally compromised by a series of extremely insufficient structural welding repairs, rendering the vehicle, if it were able to be used, dangerous to be used on the highway’.
After the case, brought under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations, West Sussex Trading Standards team manager Peter Aston said: ‘Selling an unsafe car was incredibly irresponsible. It is fortunate the car’s faults were discovered before a serious crash occurred.’
Cllr Deborah Urquhart, West Sussex County Council cabinet member for environment, added: ‘This was a deliberate attempt by the company to deceive an unsuspecting customer for financial gain. I hope the outcome of this case will deter others from committing similar crimes.’