- Simon Williams allegedly provided ’40 bogus certificates’ to create mileage history
- Prosecution explains how Mercedes systems shows mileage history
During the second day of his opening statement, Richard Pratt, QC for the prosecution told the jury that the lead trading standards investigator, Andrew Jackson would give detailed evidence of 20 vehicles from 110 cars which form this conspiracy.
Mr Pratt then went on to give the jury examples of the type of evidence the prosecution is using in their case. “Part of the evidence has been captured electronically from a system called EVA, a Mercedes system that records repairs and mileages”, Mr Pratt said.
“Also, there are two other systems, the Mercedes AQUA and STAR systems which send data between the vehicle and Mercedes itself”.
One such example was a Mercedes E Class, first registered 29th September 2007. Nearly a year later, on the 9th September 2008, the Mercedes AQUA STAR system showed the mileage at 36,709 miles. That data was corroborated by an internal PCS Chauffeurs service sheet, obtained when Trading Standards executed a warrant at the firms’ Runcorn offices. This internal service record was signed by Trevor Jones, the company mechanic.
Mr Pratt then explained to the jury the other types of evidence obtained by Trading Standards. This included MoT records from government agencies in charge of MoT records and those that carry out the tests. One such document was dated the 7th January 2009. This document showed it was conducted by Brookside Garage and MoT Test Centre, but now showed a mileage of 13,322 miles.
The vehicle was then given another MoT on 30th January 2009 with a mileage of 14,469, but this time at The Fault Finder MoT Centre. The evidence obtained by the prosecution not only showed where and who conducted the MoT, but when and how long the test was conducted, in this case between 12:01pm and 12:39pm, a total of 38 minutes.
Mr Pratt then provided the jury with the mileage trail over the next 18 months or so. The 5th March 2009 the EVA records showed that the vehicle required a number of repairs, with the mileage being recorded at 39,062. On 6th July 2010 information from Mercedes AQUA STAR System showed a mileage of 49,511. Then again on the 4th October 2010 the car was MoT’d at SNC Garage with 61,413 miles on the odometer.
Mr Pratt told the jury that on the 12th May 2011 the vehicle was transferred from PCS Shuttles Limited to PCS Events Limited.
“Just a few months later on the 20th September 2011 the vehicle was MoT’d at K Motors in Leyland, Nr Preston, but this time by the defendant, Simon Williams”, added Mr Pratt. The vehicle allegedly had an MoT between 20:19hrs to 20:21hrs, 2 minutes, with a recorded mileage of 71,003 miles.
But, the court was told by Mr Pratt: “On the 15th November 2011 the vehicle was refuelled with a mileage of 103,804 and further evidence obtained by trading standards showed further fuel receipt evidence from PCS Chauffeurs fuel cards, showing the mileage continuing to increase over that period”.
He added: “The AQUA and internal PCS service records showed on 19th December 2011, a mileage of 111,021 miles was recorded. Then on the 23rd September 2012 the vehicle was refuelled in Durham, with 144,365 miles on the odometer.
“But then, on the 25th September 2012, the very same vehicle was rejuvenated with an MoT’d by Mr Simon Williams at K Motors, Leyland. The mileage recorded was 83,711”.
However, on the 27th September 2012 the vehicle was again refuelled in Durham, the mileage had been recorded as 145,196. Mr Pratt said to the jury :“It would be fair to conclude that vehicle never left Durham”.
On the 9th January 2013 the vehicle was sold by Christopher Lunt to motor trader, P.E. Blake and Sons. On the same day that the vehicle was sold somebody at PCS activated the STAR system and the mileage captured was substantially lower.
Another vehicle, first registered in September 2007 had covered 30,012 miles in seven months according to the Mercedes AQUA system. On the 7th September 2008 on an internal service record signed by Trevor Jones, he recorded the mileage as 51,271 miles.
However, on the 7th October 2008, Mr Pratt told the jury that the EVA System showed a mileage 21,215 miles. Then the mileage lowered again on the 29th January 2009, when the car was MOT’d at Fault Finder MoT Centre and had a recorded mileage of 14,614.
On 13th January 2010 the EVA showed 41,914 and then on the 18th January AQUA system recorded a mileage of 41,925. Then on the 1st July 2010 both the AQUA and EVA records recorded the same mileage of 52,133 miles, but, the jury was told, on the 4th October 2010 the vehicle was MoT’d at 45,603 miles.
Yet, the defendant, Trevor Jones, on the 21st March 2012, signed service record and the AQUA System recorded a mileage of 115,708.
Fuel records on the 4th September 2012, when the vehicle was refuelled in Newcastle showed a recorded mileage of 129,036. Yet on the 5th September 2012, the vehicle “travelled” to K Motors in Leyland for an MoT, where Simon Williams provided an MoT certificate with a mileage of 66,743.
“The prosecution will say that the vehicle never left Newcastle”, said Mr Pratt, an allegation Mr Williams strongly denies.
Mr Pratt then told the jury about another Mercedes, first registered 31st March 2008 to PCS Shuttles. This vehicle was then transferred to PCS Events on 21st February 2011 and then sold to a Mr Eric Mannering in August 2013.
On the 10th April 2008 the AQUA system showed 91 miles and EVA showed 162 miles. On the 29th November 2008 internal PCS service records showed a mileage of 13,543.
On 29th January 2009 it was given an MoT at Fault Finder MoT Test Centre, with a recorded mileage of 15,796. 25th May 2010 the service records signed by Trevor Jones had a recorded mileage of 55,132 miles.
The digital service report from Mercedes showed the AQUA system recorded mileage of 55,430 miles.
The on the 29th March 2011, it was given an MoT at Brook Speed Motors, 33,992 miles was recorded. Then the day after, 30th March, the AQUA system recorded 33,993.
Several fuel records show the mileage after this steadily increasing until the 23rd March 2012, the AQUA system showed 59,000 miles.
On the 8th November 2012, the AQUA system showed 85,000 miles. Fuel receipts from 27th January 2013, 97,046 miles were recorded. 8th March 2013, a daily defect submitted by a PCS driver, Mr K Ellison showed a recorded mileage of 98,606 miles.
On the 10th April 2013 the vehicle had an MoT. The garage, again K Motors, saw Simon Williams “conduct the test”, where he recorded a mileage 88,296.
This vehicle was sold on 20th April 2013 on eBay. The jury was shown a copy of the online advert advertising the car for sale at £10,000 with 88.000 miles on the clock, full service history and one keeper.
Sellers’ info clearly shows lunty22 as the seller. “We, the prosecution will say that this is Christopher Graham Lunt, and that Mr Mannering, a member of the public was deliberately misled, because when the vehicle was sold, he was told that the vehicle had travelled less mileage than it actually had”, added Mr Pratt.
The final example, another Mercedes first registered in March 2007, and sold on 26 July 2012 to a Mr Asquith.
3rd June 2008 an in-house service by PCS showed a recorded mileage of 103,148 miles, but the AQUA system on 16th December 2008 had 22,017 miles recorded. An MoT on the 13th January 2009 had a mileage recorded of 26,497 miles.
8th July 2009 a service record from PCS had 146,644 miles recorded. However, the AQUA system in November 2009 had a recorded mileage of 84,873.
An MoT was then obtained on 30th March 2010, from AutoTech Garage where 119,255 miles was recorded. The AQUA system shows an increasing mileage between July 2010 and February 2011, resulting on the 11th March 2011 an AQUA reading of 191,000 miles.
However, Mr Pratt said: “On the 26th April 2011, Mr Williams conducted an MoT’d at K Motors and 128,060 miles were recorded. 1st June 2011, service records from PCS show 191,342 miles. 3rd June, AQUA 191,572 and 7th June, 131,000 miles.
“Fuel records show a pattern of mileage going up, with the odd anomaly”, added Mr Pratt
On the 2nd April 2012, it was fuelled at Newcastle with a recorded mileage of 176,833, but on the 3rd April 2012 it was MoT’d by Simon Williams at K Motors, where he recorded a mileage of 137,201.
Then, on 4th April 2012, again at Newcastle a driver fuelled the vehicle and recorded a mileage of 176,930, “which is 97 miles higher than 2 days previous, yet we are supposed to believe that this vehicle travelled to and from Newcastle to have an MoT in the Preston area”, said Mr Pratt.
“It would be our assertion that the vehicle never went anywhere near the Preston MoT centre”.
Mr Williams is expected to tell the court that he carried out MoT inspections on vehicles offered by a man called Steve for cash. He insists that he did not himself “clock” any cars.
Mr Pratt said: “The prosecution assert the very nature of this arrangement bears the hallmarks of fraud. Mr Williams provided bogus MoT certificates that would provide evidence for the accuracy of the mileage.
“Sometimes the conspirators needed a little outside help. Mr Williams provided it knowingly, willingly and dishonestly”.
16th May 2012 the STAR Diagnostic system from the car to Mercedes registered a mileage of 138,093.
26th July 2012, a member of the public (Mr Jonathon Asquith) purchased the vehicle. We do not know the precise mileage when he bought it, but we can see on the 26th March 2013 it was MoT’d with 145.814 miles.
“This is a systematic fraud and I will detail the roles played by each defendants and set out to prove how each agreed to play their parts, and how Mr Simon Williams was a participating player.
The trial of six staff at PCS Events Limited, a Runcorn-based company, and one MoT tester is expected to last seven weeks.
The defendants have each pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud. They are John Murphy, 66, the company’s major shareholder, his daughter and shareholder Laura Murphy, 27, her partner Christopher Lunt, 37, finance director Kevin Batty, 55, mechanic Trevor Jones, 57, shareholder and director Paul Arslanian, 37 and Simon Williams, an MoT tester.
The court adjourned for lunch. All the defendants deny the charges. The trial continues.
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