A BROMSGROVE motorhome dealer has been given a suspended sentence and ordered to pay £16,656.87 after being found guilty of forged documents to hide a vehicle’s history.
Richard Cooper, of Alpine Motorhome Ltd, appeared before Redditch magistrates and was convicted under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, the Fraud Act 2006 and the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981.
Mr Cooper, of The Badgers, Barnt Green, was also ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work at the hearing on Thursday (November 12).
The 47-year-old advertised and sold a motorhome for £17,000 to an unsuspecting customer without any reference to the fact the vehicle had previously been in an accident and was an insurance write off.
After using the vehicle for a short time it developed a number of serious faults but Mr Cooper refused to take it back.
Mr Cooper then provided a HPI check which detailed the vehicle’s history but which failed to identify the vehicle as having previously been involved in an accident and recorded as a Category C write off.
An investigation by Trading Standards Officers from Worcestershire Regulatory Services, began when the customer decided to sell the motorhome and in the process obtained a new HPI check.
This revealed the vehicle’s true history and enquires were raised with regards to the HPI check that Mr Cooper had provided.
It became apparent the HPI check Mr Cooper had provided was forged and had been deliberately altered to hide the information that the vehicle had previously been written off.
The court was told it was a sophisticated attempt to cover up the vehicle’s history and an offence aggravated by the fact Mr Cooper was a motorhome dealer in whom customers should be able to put their trust.
Mr Cooper was sentenced to 12 months in prison, which was suspended for two years, and he was ordered to pay costs of £4,659.96, a victim surcharge of £100 and £10,000 compensation to the purchaser of the vehicle who had had to sell the vehicle for scrap value.
Mr Cooper’s company, Alpine Motorhomes Ltd, was also fined £1,000 for two offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and ordered to pay £846.91 in costs and a victim surcharge of £50.
And Mr Cooper was disqualified from being a company director for two years.
WRS Joint Committee Chairman, Coun Bronwen Behan, said: “This case highlights the vital work done by our Trading Standards officers to ensure that consumers are protected from unscrupulous businesses wanting to make easy money at their expense.
“Our officers regularly investigate complaints where fraudulent activity is alleged, and carry out inspections both online and in person at local vehicle traders.
“The sentence handed down by the magistrates in this case shows how seriously such matters are viewed.”