Used car dealer jailed for selling ‘dangerous’ Toyota which was ‘rotten to its core’

  • Crooked car dealer jailed for six months for selling heavily corroded Toyota
  • Alan Lewis sold ‘dangerous’ Toyota Yaris that could have caused ‘catastrophic’ accident at any time
  • Swansea Crown Court told that the 44-year-old has ‘not shown a shred of remorse’ for sale
  • Defendant blames ‘European laws’ for case during bizarre exchange with judge

Time 7:40 am, January 26, 2024

A dodgy car dealer has been jailed for selling a used vehicle that was ‘rotten to its core’ and could have left its driver ‘liable to death’.

Alan Lewis sold the ‘dangerous’ Toyota Yaris to Dianne Carey, of Aberdare, despite it being heavily corroded and caked in rust with the potential to cause a ‘catastrophic’ accident.

The buyer had to take out a £3,000 loan to pay for the car and drove it for five months before a routine MOT uncovered a raft of problems.

The vehicle was ruled to be ‘too dangerous to leave the garage’, with an ‘oil covering’ seemingly used to conceal severe corrosion underneath.

Her pleas for a refund from Lewis then fell on deaf ears and Trading Standards were eventually called in to investigate.

A subsequent report by independent assessor Gareth Rees confirmed their suspicions and the case was brought to court last December.

Lewis was found guilty of one charge of supplying an unsafe product during a trial at Swansea Crown Court and he returned there yesterday (Jan 25) for sentencing.

The hearing, attended by Car Dealer, saw Lewis representing himself from the dock.

In one bizarre exchange, he got into a spat with Judge Geraint Walters KC about ‘European laws’, which he claimed were to blame for his case.

The 44-year-old told a probation officer that he ‘wasn’t going to bow down to European laws’ created by people who ‘don’t have our country’s best interests at heart’.

After dismissing the argument, Judge Walters handed Lewis a six-month jail term and ordered him to pay £2,000 compensation to his victim.

‘Vehicle should never have been on the road in the first place’

The court was also given evidence from prosecutor Abigail Jackson, who said ‘the level of corrosion was likely to have impacted steering and handling’ of the Toyota.

She also said that Lewis had a long criminal record consisting of 20 previous convictions for more than 60 offences, including drug and fraud charges.

After hearing all the evidence, Judge Walters was scathing in his assessment of Lewis, who he said had ‘not shown a shred of remorse’.

He said: ‘You are 44 years of age and were convicted by a jury for an offence of supplying an unsafe product, in this case the unsafe product is in fact a motor vehicle.

‘As is your right, you elected to defend yourself and a jury convicted you of the offence.

‘The reality seems to me, having heard the evidence, is that you had no defence in fact, but I left the case to the jury for them to decide that.

‘You had no experience whatsoever in the sale of motor vehicles but you ventured into that business, buying cars at auction and selling them on.

‘In this particular case, you sold this vehicle to this lady, and when she went and had it MOT-tested there were problems and she received a failure notice and was told that the vehicle could not be allowed to even leave the garage because of its dangerous condition.

‘This was a vehicle which should never have been on the road in the first place.

‘One thing that you said to the jury was that you relied on the MOT which had months left to run when she bought it, but I have significant suspicions not least because the MOT that was on the vehicle at the time was one that you’d arranged at a garage many miles away from your sales yard.

‘There had been determined attempts made by somebody to conceal the dangerous aspects of this motor vehicle by applying some kind of oil covering to the rotten parts.

‘The fact of the matter is that this poor lady buys a car which should have long been scrapped.

‘The jury, by virtue of their conviction, found that you should, by basic checks, have known that this vehicle was rotten to the core.

‘This lady had been driving around for five months. At any moment, there could have been a catastrophic failure which would have rendered her liable to injury or death possibly of other road users.

‘You really should never have gone into this business if – as you told the jury – you had no idea what you were doing.

‘You were prepared to turn a blind eye.’

‘Not a shred of remorse’

The judge also slammed Lewis’s attitude and described his pre-sentence report as being ‘as bad as I have ever seen’.

He said: ‘When I read your pre-sentence report, it is pretty much as bad a report as I have ever seen.

‘It was well written but it paints you in a very poor light. Your attitude is not one of remorse. The reality is you have been on the wrong side of the law for many, many, many years.

‘You are someone who thinks he knows everything and is above everything.“Nobody tells me what to do” – that’s your attitude.

‘Your opinions are that you are only in court because of European laws, that the government of this country ruined your business because of coronavirus, and on and on it goes. You know it all.

‘This has nothing to do with Europe but you can’t even respect that. You’ve got a huge attitude problem.

‘The fact of the matter is I can’t give you a suspended sentence, with conditions, because in fact you just think “Go on then, you do that. I’ll show you. I’ll win”.

‘You have backed yourself into a corner from which you can’t escape and nor can I, I’m afraid.

‘This was a truly dangerous motor vehicle and you have not shown a shred of remorse to this lady.’

In sections of her victim impact statement read out in court, Carey said the situation had left her significantly out of pocket and struggling with ‘mental health and trust issues’.

Car Dealer has approached Trading Standards for comment.

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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