Trading Standards investigation leads to jail sentence for fraudulent ‘car-clocking’ operation

Hampshire County Council Trading Standards has welcomed a successful prosecution following their investigation into the fraudulent sale of second-hand cars

The investigation by Trading Standards officers resulted in Ashley Wilson, 27, of Longfield Avenue, Fareham in Hampshire being sentenced to 45 months imprisonment, on Friday 9 June 2023 at Portsmouth Crown Court, and to a further 12 months for a previous suspended sentence, after being convicted on charges relating to reducing displayed mileages on 32 vehicles, commonly known as ‘car clocking’, totalling 2,750,000 miles. He was also found to have falsified car service histories to hide the significant reduction in mileage. In total 33 vehicles were fraudulently sold to legitimate car dealers across the country through several online dealer trading platforms. The defendant sold the cars for a combined total of £445,957.80.

Councillor Russell Oppenheimer, Hampshire County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for Trading Standards, said: 

"This is a great result for consumers who have been protected by Hampshire Trading Standards from the illegal activities of an individual who contrived to sell on second-hand cars dishonestly through legitimate traders. ‘Car clocking’ is a serious criminal activity that can affect anyone who buys a used vehicle in the second-hand market, and result in people paying more than the market price as well as risking further unexpected repair costs because the car has more miles on the clock than advertised.

“Our advice is to always make a few precautionary checks, no matter who you buy a used car from, to reduce the chances of buying a vehicle that’s being sold illegally, or under false pretences. This could include using the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency’s free online vehicle checker, viewing the car’s MOT history via GOV.UK, or even paying for an independent report on the condition of the car. Any of these steps can reveal problems before you commit to making a purchase.”

The investigation was supported by the National Trading Standards Tri Regional Investigation team who provided additional investigative and operational support.

Trish Burls, Chair of the National Trading Standards Tri-Region Investigation Team, said: 

“The practice of altering vehicle mileages is both illegal and could endanger lives. The sentencing in this case should act as a deterrent for those engaged in this type of activity and finalises another successful collaboration between the Tri Region Investigation team and Hampshire County Council’s Trading Standards officers. 

"Our joint approach ensured a prompt investigation, highlighting the value of partnership working that allowed serious fraud directed at consumers across the country to be tackled. 

"If you, or someone you know, suspects they have been the victim of a scam, report it to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133."

Notes to Editors

About National Trading Standards

National Trading Standards delivers national and regional consumer protection enforcement. Its Board is made up of senior and experienced heads of local government trading standards from around England and Wales with an independent.