Express & Star

Dudley car dealer convicted for selling 'death trap' motor to two unsuspecting customers

A rogue car dealer has been convicted for selling a "death trap" motor advertised as having "no nasty surprises".

The Subaru Forester has been described as "unroadworthy"

Steven Hickman, 62, trading as Shelby's of Netherton, appeared before the courts for the second time on Monday in relation to the Subaru Forester.

Hickman was convicted of selling the "unroadworthy" car in March of last year and was ordered to fully refund the unsuspecting customer the £3,500 they paid for it.

Dudley Magistrates Court heard that the Subaru was then returned to Hickman, who sold it to another customer in April for £4,300.

He described the car in the sale advert as having "no nasty surprises on the inside" and said it "drives very well".

But the vehicle broke down and had to be recovered within hours of it being sold after the suspension collapsed due to rust, the court heard.

Dudley Trading Standards was called in to investigate the car dealer for a second time accompanied by a vehicle expert.

The expert found the underneath of the car had been painted in a thin layer of black bitumen, a near-solid form of petroleum, which he believed had been done to conceal the level of rust.

Following the assessment, he concluded the car as being "unroadworthy" and "dangerous".

Hickman, of Seymour Road, Lye, pleaded guilty to engaging in a misleading commercial practice and engaging in a commercial practice which contravened the requirements of professional diligence following an appearance at Dudley Magistrates Court on Monday.

The trader also admitted failing to act with due care when supplying a product, and permitting another to use a motor vehicle when its use involved a danger of injury.

District Judge Graham Wilkinson said Hickman was "willing to sell a death trap" and warned the defendant a custodial sentence was the likely outcome for his offending.

The case was committed to Wolverhampton Crown Court, where Hickman will be sentenced on October 23.

Councillor Ian Bevan, cabinet member responsible for trading standards, said: "This is a shocking case. Hickman had already been brought before the courts in relation to this car and was left under no illusions that it was dangerous.

"He should have scrapped it or repaired it properly, but instead he patched it up and sold it on again, this time for even more, while knowing it was, as the judge described it, a potential death trap."