“The defendant asked for a deposit to be paid in cash"
Mahmood Ali, aged 30, of Rochdale, received a suspended sentence after he sold a stolen car over AutoTrader for over £12,000.
The matter came to light when AutoTrader contacted the unwitting buyer over the legitimacy of Ali’s advert.
He advertised the stolen Ford Cougar on the car-selling website in May 2018.
A month earlier in April 2018, a woman’s 17-plate Ford Cougar was stolen from her driveway in Boldmere, Birmingham.
It was worth approximately £17,000.
A car buyer was looking on AutoTrader as he was looking for a bigger car due to a back injury.
He came across the Ford, initially up for sale at £14,000.
It was then reduced to £13,000, which “emboldened” him to contact the seller (Ali) and arrange to meet.
Gavin Howie, prosecuting, said:
“The defendant asked for a deposit to be paid in cash as he wanted to purchase another car.
“The complainant asked for the registration plate for the car as it was blurred on the picture and he wanted to carry out a HPI check.
“He was given the registration and he checked the vehicle but it didn’t appear to have any issues.”
The man travelled from his home in Stockton-on-Tees to Manchester where he met Ali, checked the car and had a test drive before handing him the £140 cash deposit.
The next day, the man withdraw the full amount and met with Ali again where he asked to see the VIN number to carry out further checks.
The man then paid £12,500 and filled in the new keeper section of the V5 car ownership document.
Mr Howie said: “As a precautionary measure, the complainant took a photograph of the document and the person he was dealing with – he went to a prudent length.
“He then drove away in the Cougar.
“He was contacted by AutoTrader informing him of concerns about the advertisement – but he had already bought the vehicle.
“He contacted them and made checks on the DVLA website and discovered that the V5 document should have had a watermark on it.”
The man took it to a local Ford garage where he was told there was nothing wrong with the car but advised him to contact the police.
Police later confirmed the car had been cloned and was stolen.
Manchester Crown Court heard that the man lost his entire savings and had “no car to show for it”.
In a statement, he said he was embarrassed and felt like he had let his family down.
Ali pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation and using a false instrument with intent it be accepted as genuine.
Ali was previous convicted of similar offences.
In mitigation, Tom Sherrington said:
“It is difficult to mitigate but in his presentence report, he makes reference to people having some influence over him.
“Sometime after being sentenced he was asked to do this offence.
“His drug debt has now been paid off and he is no longer in that scenario.”
“In the interim period, he had found himself in employment and had been assisting local residents in the free school meals initiative.
“The delay worked to his credit as he has been able to get himself into employment and get himself back on the right track.”
Judge Nicholas Deans QC said: “I hope you have changed.
“On May 11, 2018, you were sentenced to a suspended sentence, but after a week you offended again, stealing £12,500 from this man who you duped into buying a stolen vehicle.
“That warning would have been ringing in your ears.
“I accept you were a vulnerable individual, I feel I can take a risk and I believe you have turned a corner.
“With further help, support and guidance, I doubt you will appear before the courts again.”
On August 17, 2021, Ali was sentenced to two years in prison, suspended for two years.
Manchester Evening News reported that he was also ordered to complete 25 days of rehabilitation activity requirements and 150 hours of unpaid work.