AN ebay conman who ripped off innocent traders and members of the public by failing to deliver motoring equipment he had received thousands of pounds for was jailed for six months on Monday. David Hunt, 39, who operated from addresses in both Farnham and Alton, sold the expensive car parts and mini-motor bikes on the internet auction website then took the money and ran. The garage owner also failed to pay genuine motor companies for machinery he bought to place on ebay, and charged his customers for work he had not done to their cars - on one occasion pretending to install a £1,625 engine. Hunt was sentenced at Guildford Crown Court after pleading guilty to nine counts of theft, two counts of obtaining property by deception and six counts of obtaining a money transfer by deception. Brian Stork, prosecuting, told the court that Hunt stole nearly £10,000 through different scams. He said that in January 2004, Hunt ordered a tyre- changing machine and wheel balancer worth £4,400 from legitimate motoring equipment supplier Best Path UK Limited. They were delivered to his address in Southview Rise, Alton, but he failed to pay for them and when the company called at the address he had disappeared. Ten months later he used a false name and different address - Coxbridge Farm, Farnham, - to order two identical machines. When the company again did not receive any money they traced the equipment at Coxbridge Farm, where he had packed it ready to sell on ebay. Mr Stork said that Hunt frequently used the website in 2004 and 2005 to sell motor vehicle accessories. He advertised a total of 13 items - some of which did not exist - and "although monies were paid to this defendant either by cash or by cheque, this defendant did not deliver any of the items that had been purchased". Angry customers discovered by emailing each other that they had been conned and contacted the police. The court heard that in September 2006 the mechanic, who advertised himself as a Subaru specialist, told a customer that she needed a new engine fitted and asked her for £1,625 up front. Mr Stork said: "He did not fit that engine, albeit he gave the impression that he had. "It was only in April 2006 after this defendant had been extensively enquired into by the police and an expert examined the Subaru it became apparent that was in fact the case. "There was no sign of an engine being removed from that Subaru, let alone one being fitted into it." The court heard that Hunt has a number of previous convictions including making false statements with regard to servicing vehicles and had falsely claimed he had fitted an engine in 2003. James Smith, defending, said that Hunt had previously been an honest ebay trader but after his garage business began to go downhill in 2001, he "attempted to trade himself out of trouble". Judge Michael Addison said that the offences were so serious that only a prison sentence could be justified.
Six months' jail for £10k ebay conman
Thursday 6th September 2007 10:00 pm