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Howard and Byrne Solicitors, York - Criminal Defence Specialists

York ‘Clocker’ convicted

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3:17pm 8th November 2011

Albert Buck, 40, of 43 Stephensons Close, Huntington in York has been sentenced to two years’ imprisonment at York Crown Court for ‘clocking’ six vans and selling them to unsuspecting customers from York and other parts of the country.

Mr Buck, who was trading as AB Commercials Ltd at the time of the offences, pleaded guilty to six counts under the Fraud Act 2006 after reducing the mileometer readings on the vehicles and advertising them in Autotrader or selling them on to people he had dealt with before. 

In July 2010, City of York Council Trading Standards Service received a complaint from a builder who had travelled from Huddersfield to meet Mr Buck and was taken to his workshop in Murton.  There he agreed to buy a VW Transporter for £8,500, which showed a mileage reading of 62,000 miles. The complainant became suspicious of the vehicle after Mr Buck failed to send him an invoice and service history as promised.  He made further checks and discovered that the vehicle had travelled 84,000 miles more than he thought. 

Trading Standards officers set about looking into other sales Mr Buck had made.  The vans, which were the subject of the charges (all Volkswagen vehicles) had ‘lost’ between 48,000 and 115,000 miles after coming into Mr Buck’s possession.  He had sold them for over £46,000 in total. All of the victims told Trading Standards that they wouldn’t have bought the vans had they known the true situation.

Trading Standards Officers, with the assistance of North Yorkshire Police, executed a warrant at Mr Buck’s home and other premises in November 2010.  Amongst the items seized were service books and other papers showing the true mileages of some of the vehicles Mr Buck had sold.  Mr Buck was arrested and questioned at that time.  However, he continued offending. One of the counts related to a VW panel van sold to a customer in February 2011 having lost 72,000 miles.

Mr Buck, who is currently serving a 27-month prison sentence for the cultivation of cannabis, will also face confiscation proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act to recover the money he has made from his criminality.

Matt Boxall, City of York Council’s Trading Standards manager, said:

“This was an organised scam to trick people into parting with thousands of pounds they wouldn’t otherwise have parted with. It’s also cost legitimate businesses potential sales.

“There are a number of companies that will provide checks on a vehicle you are considering buying.  As well as checking for mileage discrepancies, they will also check to see if the vehicle has previously been involved in an accident or is the subject of outstanding finance.  We recommend that these checks are carried out as it can save a fortune and a great deal of headache in the future.

“Anyone with concerns about a vehicle they have purchased is also urged to contact Trading Standards via Consumer Direct on 08454 040506.”

Sergeant John Freer of North Yorkshire Police said:

“Not only is Mr Buck serving a prison sentence that has now been extended.  The confiscation proceedings will ensure that he does not benefit from the crimes he has engaged in, and hopefully secure some compensation for the victims.  We have an excellent working relationship with CYC Trading Standards and we will continue to share information and resources with our partner agencies to ensure that crime doesn’t pay.”

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