South Shields internet car dealer spared jail over 'clocked' vans

Gary McArthur escaped jail for 'clocking' cars
Gary McArthur escaped jail for 'clocking' cars

A motor trader who sold "clocked" vans to unsuspecting customers over over an internet sales site has been spared jail.

Gary McArthur advertised two Ford Transit vehicles on Gumtree which displayed less than half their true mileage and Newcastle Crown Court heard buyers were left hundreds of pounds out of pocket as a result of the scam.

McArthur was the subject of an investigation by South Tyneside Trading Standards.

The court heard McArthur, 31, of Bents Park Road, South Shields, had placed dozens of adverts on the site, and told investigators he had bought vehicles from "travellers" and did not know they had been tampered with.

McArthur admitted two offences under the protection from misleading marketing regulations and was sentenced to four months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with 300 hours unpaid work, £1,000 costs. He was also ordered to pay £1,800 in compensation.

Mr Recorder Singh told him: "You must have known you were misleading or likely to deceive through what you were doing."

Prosecutor Fiona Lamb told the court the first van was advertised in April last year with 104,000 miles on the clock when the true figure was 237,000. The buyer paid £2,650 and the MOT provided proved not to be genuine.

The second van, sold last September for £4,750, was advertised with a 89,000 mileage but the true figure was around 197,000.

The court heard the new owner took the vehicle for an MOT immediately after purchase, which it failed and left him with a repair bill of up to £700.

Miss Lamb said: "Both vehicles had had the mileage significantly reduced, giving the impression they were worth more than they were. He gained financially from the transactions. It is difficult to say how much. The buyers took the loss."

Claire Anderson, defending, said McArthur was a double glazing window fitter, had not set out to be dishonest and was not involved in "clocking" the vehicles himself.

Miss Anderson said: "He bought the vehicles from travellers, started dabbling in the trade."