Protection racket fear for car dealers

Time 1:14 pm, December 24, 2009

smashed-car-windowCHRISTMAS may be a time for goodwill and peace to all men – but some car dealers are living in fear.

News has reached the Car Dealer office this week of a scary protection racket that has many motor traders ready to shut up shop for good.

It seems there are a number of dodgy ‘security companies’ visiting dealers across the country enquiring about their current security arrangements – and when they’re given the brush off, nasty events soon follow.

One email from a dealer, that wanted to remain anonymous, said: ‘I have been threatened with reprisals should I go to the police, but we were recently visited by a nasty piece of work who was wearing either a bulletproof vest or a stab vest.

‘He asked us who provided our security and we told him one of our customers does it for us and we were happy with his services.

‘When we told him that the guy became irate and wouldn’t leave and kept asking who did it and how much they charged.

‘Eventually he went and I wanted to call the police, but the others didn’t.

‘Then a couple of nights later my cars were sprayed with paint stripper causing about £5,000 worth of damage.

‘This has caused me huge problems as you can imagine. I haven’t claimed on my insurance as I don’t want to become uninsurable, but it has made an already bad year a lot worse.’


The dealer added the ‘security man’ returned several times, sometimes demanding money, and said if he went to the police there would be serious trouble.

‘I would like to see the guy behind bars, but he has made it clear that he would still be able to reach out,’ added the dealer. ‘I don’t know what to do.’

Obviously this is a scary problem and one that it seems is widespread across the country.

Car Dealer contacted the Association of Chief Police Officers for advice on the situation. Their answer was typically short and to the point: ‘Our advice to dealers is to contact the police.’

However hard that seems at the time, it certainly makes sense. These bullies can only carry on until someone stands up to them.

If you’ve experienced similar events get in touch with us. We’ll treat all information with the strictest of confidence. Any help for dealers in the same situation would also be gratefully received.

James Baggott's avatar

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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