Wolverhampton Crown Court, via PA, Sep 2011Wolverhampton Crown Court, via PA, Sep 2011


Dodgy car dealer avoids jail for selling ‘death trap’ with wheels that could have fallen off at any time

  • Car dealer handed nine month suspended sentence for selling ‘unroadworthy’ VW van
  • Paul Hale, of Kool Kustoms, ignored a catalogue of issues and sold vehicle for more than £8,000
  • Customer took converted camper van to garage after tyre blew and was told it had major faults
  • Trading Standards later found heel bolts could have come off while the camper van was moving
  • Experts also found excessive corrosion throughout the van

Time 8:00 am, April 18, 2023

A dodgy car dealer has avoided jail for selling a ‘death trap’ campervan, which he knew had faulty brakes and wheels that could fall off at any time.

Paul Hale turned a blind eye to a catalogue of faults and converted the VW into a campervan via his Halesowen-based company, Kool Kustoms.

He then pocketed a cool £8,650 by selling the vehicle in August 2020, putting his customer’s risk the life of his customer.

Issues that were known about, but not fixed, included excessive corrosion in several areas, a defective horn and an unsecured gas cylinder, fitted as part of the conversion.

(Credit: Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council)

Hale, 50, previously appeared at Wolverhampton Crown Court in November, when he admitted to two charges of fraud as well as one of selling a dangerous vehicle.

That followed an extensive investigation by the trading standards team at Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council and he has now returned to court for sentencing.

During the hearing, it was revealed that Trading Standards had used an independent vehicle expert to assess the condition of the van.

The specialist said that he found it ‘difficult to believe that work of such a low standard was carried out by a professional company specialising in camper van conversions’.

His report also found that wheel bolts were too short making it ‘extremely likely’ that a wheel would become detached as the van drove along.

(Credit: Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council)

Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council said the case came to light after the customer had used the vehicle on a day trip and one of the front tyres had blown.

After taking it to a local garage, they were told the vehicle had major faults.

On his part, Hale claimed the sale was private to make a personal gain, which he said meant he did not have to offer the buyer a refund.

However, after hearing all the evidence, a judge did order him to repay the £8,650 in full and carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.

He was also handed a nine month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and must pay Dudley Council’s £2,500 court costs, along with the forfeiture of the campervan.

Christopher King, head of trading standards at Dudley Council, said: ‘Dudley Trading Standards will not tolerate traders who evade their responsibilities and risk people’s lives by putting dangerous vehicles on the road.

‘Traders who expose consumers to risk of harm by selling unroadworthy vehicles will be investigated and are likely to face prosecution.’

Addressing the case, Ian Bevan, cabinet member responsible for trading standards at Dudley Council, previously said: ‘This prosecution shows that Dudley Trading Standards will not tolerate traders who evade their responsibilities and risk people’s lives by putting dangerous vehicles on the road.

‘Thanks to the diligence of the garage, the major faults on this vehicle were spotted and thankfully no one was injured.’

According to Companies House, Kool Kustoms was incorporated in September 2020 and dissolved in March 2021.

Main picture: Wolverhampton Crown Court (PA Images)

Jack Williams's avatar

Jack joined the Car Dealer team in 2021 as a staff writer. He previously worked as a national newspaper journalist for BNPS Press Agency. He has provided news and motoring stories for a number of national publications including The Sun, The Times and The Daily Mirror.

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