Conman car dealer ‘put lives at risk’

Spencer Hannon was sentenced to three years in prison for fraud
Spencer Hannon was sentenced to three years in prison for fraud
  • One car with 70,000 miles on the clock had actually done 120,000
  • Hannon called one customer an ‘immigrant’ and sent him a text telling him Hannon was spending his money
  • He became aggressive towards people when they complained about their vehicle problems

Victims of a conman who sold second-hand cars with fake details and faults have spoken out after he was jailed for three years.

Spencer Hannon, 39, of Gentian Close, Rushden, ran Village Cars most recently in Souldrop, Bedfordshire, after moving from Little Addington and Finedon, and ripped off 27 customers between June 2012 and November 2014.

Spencer Hannon ran Village Cars in Souldrop

Spencer Hannon ran Village Cars in Souldrop

And now those who fell foul of his lies have told of his aggression and refusal to refund money they were owed.

Steve Falkner had just moved to Rushden when he bought a car from Hannon for his daily commute.

He said: “I bought a car for nearly £5,000 and it was showing as having 70,000 miles on the clock.

“It was only later that I found out from trading standards that it actually had done 120,000 miles.

He pretended to be a gentleman by holding the driver’s door open, but he only did it because the lock on the door was broken.

Marzene Ward

“It said ‘low mileage’ on the windscreen which couldn’t have been a bigger lie if he tried.

“The car was knackered and had a few faults and I still haven’t got my money back.

“He [Hannon] didn’t give a stuff and accused me of running the car with no oil, and then wouldn’t get in contact with me.”

Marzene Ward, of Stanion, was left waiting for months without a reply after her car broke down.

She said: “He pretended to be a gentleman by holding the driver’s door open, but he only did it because the lock on the door was broken.

“He then told me it was nothing to do with him and gave me a fake warranty, so when I went to a garage to fix it I had to fork out.

“The clutch broke just after buying the car and I still haven’t got any money back.”

Michal Rutkowski, from St Albans, bought a car from Hannon on eBay which was faulty and given a fake warranty.

He was then threatened by Hannon after trying to warn other customers about his dealings.

He said: “I was told there was nothing to worry about but the car had a gearbox fault, and when I took it to a garage they said the warranty was non-existent.

“He promised to exchange it but then avoided me and started to turn nasty when I asked for my money.

“He called me an immigrant and then texted me to say he was spending my money, and when I warned others he tried to punch me.

“I spent £1,500 at his garage and I still haven’t got any of it back.”

Joanne Hegerty, of Cambridgeshire, was one of Hannon’s first victims and she says she was disgusted by his attitude.

She said: “I bought a car for £1,000 and not long after I bought it it lost power.

“He kept fobbing me off and said he would send someone out to repair it but never did.

“Then he turned nasty and I feel sick by what he did.

“He put my life at risk, my children’s lives at risk, and other road users.”

Conman jailed for three years

Northampton Crown Court heard Hannon “developed a pattern” in which he would falsify the details of vehicles he offered for sale on his website as well as eBay and Autotrader.

Hannon lied on the adverts for the cars, claiming they had warranties and tax discs.

But when customers found out they did not actually exist and asked for a refund he would become aggressive and demand they wrote a positive review on his website before he would give any cash back.

Cameron Crowe, prosecuting, said the total value of the fraud was estimated to be up to £50,000.

The court heard Hannon’s other fraudulent behaviour included ‘clocking’ the cars and taking money to transfer cherished number plates to new vehicles but never actually doing it.

As the number plates are still registered to the previous owner, some customers found they received parking fines and speeding tickets they were not responsible for.

Hannon pleaded guilty to two charges of fraud, covering 27 customers, earlier this year.

He had 10 previous convictions for 34 offences, including other dishonesty charges.

Judge Michael Fowler jailed Hannon for three years and banned him from being a company director for seven years.