Simon Retallick, from Cleveland Police press siteSimon Retallick, from Cleveland Police press site


Used car dealer jailed for multiple cases of fraud including selling ‘death-trap’ Citroen

  • Simon Retallick lied and made excuses as well as false promises to dozens of customers
  • He pocketed some £101,000 via his scams
  • One victim said he’d been left feeling suicidal
  • Judge brands Retallick ‘very epitome of a rogue trader’

Time 6:43 am, March 26, 2024

A fraudulent and aggressive used car dealer whose scams included selling a ‘death-trap’ Citroen was yesterday put behind bars for four years.

Simon Retallick, 43, pocketed approximately £101,000 after lying as well as making excuses and false promises to dozens of customers.

He sold cars and vans to them between 2018 and 2021 via his second-hand vehicle businesses S Retail (NE) Ltd and Glebe Motor Company online as well as from a garage in Stockton-on-Tees, reported BBC News.

Prosecutor Anthony Pettengell told Teesside Crown Court that the vehicles ‘were riddled with major faults’ and didn’t have any MOT certificates.

Retallick, of Fulthorpe Road, Norton, also sold the same cars a number of times to different people, then didn’t give them the refunds he’d promised, and despite various successful claims made against him in the county court, he never coughed up what he was ordered to.

The crown court was told he became aggressive on numerous occasions, threatening people and lying about the refunds.

Cleveland Police said Retallick targeted 37 victims, mainly in 2020 during lockdown, by falsely advertising the sale of vehicles on eBay.

Because of lockdown, people weren’t able to see the vehicles in person. He would then take money via bank transfer and spend months making excuses to his victims as to why their vehicle hadn’t been delivered.

Among the horror stories given as evidence, said BBC News, were:

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  • A £1,395 Citroen subsequently labelled a ‘death trap’ by a mechanic – it had dangerous brakes plus a collapsing driver’s seat
  • A BMW 4 Series that cost more than £15,000 but never turned up, nor was a refund given, with Retallick giving ‘endless excuses and broken promises’
  • A £4,000 Mercedes-Benz that was subsequently discovered to have failed its MOT and have a number of defects
  • A £1,600 Vauxhall Corsa sold three times to different people – Retallick also didn’t give them refunds he promised them
  • A van that cost £2,250 but wasn’t delivered and no refund was given – the victim was told by Retallick he didn’t mind going to jail and that he’d ‘done more time than Ronnie and Reggie’
  • Gloating to a pensioner over the phone that he had his money
  • Telling another victim he’d spent their money on caviar and champagne

Among the victim statements, a man said Retallick had left him feeling suicidal, while others told of the stress and financial hardship they’d been caused, and a woman who paid for a van that didn’t materialise told of feeling ‘cheated and robbed’.

Each report was logged by the victims with Action Fraud and the Citizens Advice Consumer Service. The reports were then passed to Cleveland Police and Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s trading standards team for investigation.

Retallick was also prosecuted for dodgy roof work that he carried out under the name Paul Lane and via another firm, called Direct Roofline, said BBC News.

He took £4,100 from a couple in Whitby for a new roof surface but after only a few days it leaked and caused ‘significant damage’, said Pettengell.

It was labelled ‘bad workmanship with just about every aspect incorrectly constructed to a very poor standard’ by inspectors, and the couple said the ordeal had put them ‘through hell’.

Retallick pleaded guilty to multiple fraud charges as well as perverting the course of justice. The crown court was told he’d been convicted of theft and fraud before, including involving car sales in 2011.

Mitigating, Sarah Barlow said his ‘legitimate business’ had come under financial strain, and she told the court Retallick had been ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’ so as to ‘keep his head above water’, said BBC News.

Barlow added: ‘He acknowledges now he is a terrible businessman.’

However, Judge Chris Smith called Retallick the ‘very epitome of a rogue trader’, often showing ‘a complete disregard for safety’.

The judge added that the actions of Retallick helped ‘perpetuate the unfair myth it is an industry beset with dodgy dealers’.

Teesside Crown and County Court. Owen Humphreys_PA Archive_PA Images

Teesside Crown Court. Picture credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Archive/PA Images

And he commented that it had been ‘hard to detect much remorse’ and that his apology ‘comes late in the day’ and ‘rings hollow’.

Judge Smith also banned Retallick from working in the automotive trade or being a company director for eight years, reported BBC News.

Cleveland Police said some 17 offences were levelled against Retallick by themselves while Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council brought 40 criminal charges against him following the trading standards investigation.

The prosecution for the roof work was brought by North Yorkshire County Council, said BBC News.

In a statement after the case, Cleveland Police said: ‘Simon Retallick is a serial fraudster who targeted and took advantage of victims across the UK.

‘Retallick has caused nothing but misery to many victims and his actions have had a detrimental impact on their personal relationships, businesses and financial situations.

‘He has shown zero remorse for the crimes he has committed…but thankfully he has now been brought to justice and will now have plenty of time to think about his crimes in prison.’

Main image credit: Cleveland Police

John Bowman's avatar

John has been with Car Dealer since 2013 after spending 25 years in the newspaper industry as a reporter then a sub-editor/assistant chief sub-editor on regional and national titles. John is chief sub-editor in the editorial department, working on Car Dealer, as well as handling social media.

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