Two Nottingham car dealers who clocked 13 cars by more than one million miles have been jailed.
Brothers-in-law Meti ZIELINSKI (23) of Sandon Street, Basford, and Marcin KAMINSKI (27) of Pavior Road, Bestwood, who went on to sell the cars with fake MOT certificates and service histories, were each sentenced to 15 months in prison and each ordered to pay £20,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act after admitting the offences at Nottingham Crown Court.
Over an 18 month period between 2013 and 2015, the men tampered with 17 vehicles, cutting the mileage on 13 of them by around half and reducing the total by 1,159,743 miles. All the vehicles were then sold with false documents.
Their court case follows one last month when two brothers from Lenton Abbey clocked cars, sold them on, often with fake MOTs, and used the bank accounts of their dead grandparents to get false tax discs. Kaas Abbas (23) and Zikria Abbas (25), both of Hathern Green, Lenton Abbey, were jailed for 18 months on the clocking charges.
In this latest case, Meti Zielinski, a self-employed car dealer, spent his time at car auctions and surfing the internet for vehicles. Marcin Kaminski was employed as a mechanic and used his employer’s account to sell the vehicles. The family, who run a valeting service from their home in Sandon Street, had the front garden set up like a forecourt.
After a complaint from a consumer, Nottingham City Council Trading Standards Service, working closely with Gumtree, Autotrader, British Car Auctions and the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency, made two test purchases and searched homes and business addresses. They found cash, false service stamps and paperwork for more than 70 vehicles that had been bought, advertised and sold on to victims across the country, using various phone numbers, email accounts and names. Seized laptops and iPads showed fake documents created for the sales.
The Judge stated, when sentencing “This was without doubt a sophisticated operation, and the garage stamps added authenticity to persuade people to depart from hard earned money.”
Jane Bailey, Nottingham City Council’s Trading Standards Manager, said: “This is the second major car clocking case we have put before the courts in recent weeks. We are pleased that the defendants have been given significant sentences for these crimes, which have left numerous citizens out of pocket.
“Cars were sold with false service histories, suggesting to the buyers that the vehicles had been regularly serviced. This was not the case. Advisory notes on MOT tests had been removed, including tyres with low tread and brake discs corroded. This could have meant that the vehicles were sold in an unsafe condition and that purchasers were unaware they might be at risk.
“I would urge anyone buying a second hand car to make as many checks as they possibly can to ensure that the vehicle is showing its true mileage. The website https://www.gov.uk/check-mot-history will allow potential buyers to check the genuine mileage of any vehicle they are considering buying.”
Cllr Nicola Heaton, Nottingham City Council’s Portfolio holder for Community Safety, said: “This crime required intense investigation by Trading Standards and the result will protect people across the country from the organised criminality committed within a family unit.
“Buying a car is large part of anyone’s budget and to find out that your new vehicle has a false mileage and fake documents and so is worth a lot less – and in a poorer state of repair than expected – must have been a shock and concern for many victims. Pursuing compensation for the victims involved in this investigation under the Proceeds of Crime Act may mean that some of the losses are repaid from the car dealers’ profits.”