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Bracknell car dealer convicted of fraud and selling unsafe cars

Gavel hammer in courtroom

Carl Wareham, aged 63, trading as Maxus Automotive or Car Nation on Forest Road, Warfield, was convicted at Reading Crown Court of misselling cars, their warranties and adapting car service books as well as the sale of unsafe vehicles. He was sentenced to a total of 21 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months.

Mr Wareham was investigated by trading standards officers from the Public Protection Partnership (PPP) and the case was prosecuted by Bracknell Forest Council through the PPP Joint Case Management Unit after consumer complaints.

In June 2017 a member of the public reported the dealer after having immediate problems with a car they’d been sold by Mr Wareham, who had refused a refund. The car’s service book was found to have 2 fake service stamps. Further enquiries led to a warrant being executed at the site on Forest Road, and similarly altered service books were found together with warranties that were paid for by consumers but never registered. In one case, a car advertised with 6 months warranty cover and a full service history was found to have 7 fake stamps in its service book and no warranty.

At a 2-week trial at Reading Crown Court Mr Wareham was found guilty of 16 counts of fraud contrary to the Fraud Act 2006 and one count relating to the supply of unsafe vehicles contrary to the General product Safety Regulations 2008. Wareham was acquitted of a further 3 fraud charges.

Commenting on the case Cllr John Harrison, Executive Member for Culture, Delivery and Public Protection and member of the Joint Public Protection Committee said:

“This was a serious case of dishonesty. Consumers have every right when buying cars and other goods to expect traders to be honest in their dealings. In this case there was serial fraudulent offending, as well as offending relating to six unsafe vehicles, which was of particular concern.

“Investigation and prosecution of cases of this type are by their nature complex. In this case the painstaking work conducted by trading standards and the case management unit have brought about an important conviction that I hope will send a clear message to anyone thinking of defrauding their customers. To this end it is important that consumers raise any concerns about unfair trading with trading standards, and I would always urge them to do so.”

The Public Protection Partnership is a shared service of Bracknell Forest Council, West Berkshire Council and Wokingham Borough Council and delivers trading standards, environmental health and licensing functions.