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Dealer sentenced after selling ‘death-trap campervan’

A car dealer who sold a ‘death-trap campervan’ for £8,650 has been ordered to repay the sum in full and carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.

Paul Hale, who traded as Koolkustoms in Halesowen, sold the Volkswagen T4 despite it having faulty brakes and wheels that were “extremely likely” to fall off while it was being driven.

Hale,, who claimed to specialise in campervan conversions, pleaded guilty to fraud and selling a dangerous vehicle at a court hearing in November last year and appeared at Wolverhampton Crown Court last week for sentencing.

He was also sentenced to nine months imprisonment, suspended for two years, and must pay Dudley Council’s £2,500 court costs, along with the forfeiture of the campervan.

Dudley Council’s Trading Standards were called in to investigate the sale when the issues were uncovered when the campervan was taken to a garage after a tyre blowout on a day trip.

The court heard Dudley Trading Standards used an independent vehicle expert to assess the scale of the problem.

The vehicle expert found it “difficult to believe that work of such a low standard was carried out by a professional company specialising in camper van conversions”.

The vehicle expert also reported that wheel bolts were too short making it “extremely likely” that a wheel would become detached whilst in motion.

There was excessive corrosion in a large number of areas, a defective horn and an unsecured gas cylinder fitted as part of the conversion.

Christopher King, head of trading standards at Dudley Council, said: “Dudley Trading Standards will not tolerate traders who evade their responsibilities and risk people’s lives by putting dangerous vehicles on the road.

“Traders who expose consumers to risk of harm by selling unroadworthy vehicles will be investigated and are likely to face prosecution.”

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