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1000 fake MOTs put death traps on our roads; pounds 500,000 forgeries.

More than 1000 Scots could be driving death traps because of a pounds 500,000 fake MoT certificate scam.

The fakes - almost impossible to spot - have been sold to unscrupulous car dealers and in city pubs.

Last year, police believed they had smashed a massive forgery ring, seizing fake cash and an authentic MoT stamping machine, stolen from a legitimate garage.

However, the gang had made a copy of the stamping machine.

The device - known as a crimper - produces the stamp at the bottom right- hand side of the MoT certificate and punches in the name of the testing garage.

Yesterday, a criminal insider handed us a book of seven fake certificates, complete with garage crimp stamps.

He revealed: "The police thought there was only one crimper, but there were two. A master forger had made a copy of the original which was hidden.

"When the dust settled, the gang recovered the second crimper and have already stamped thousands of new certificates ready to go out on the streets."

The bogus certificates all carry the number RA 0644938 in the top right- hand corner, along with the name of a garage in Wishaw, Lanarkshire, and they also have the identical crimper number VTS 96631.

The source stated: "Our biggest customers are back-street car dealers who can't sell clapped-out motors without a valid MoT.

"They buy them from us at pounds 40-a-time and immediately add pounds 500 to the value of their death trap cars which they flog on to some guy who thinks he has landed a bargain.

"We buy from the forgers at pounds 20-a-time, so for 1000 tickets they get pounds 20,000. We sell at pounds 40 which nets us pounds 40,000 and with the dealers selling cars at pounds 500 extra, the MoTs are worth pounds 500,000 to them.

"You can go into most Glasgow pubs and buy a certificate. Obviously ordinary punters don't just walk in looking for them. The availability is passed on by word of mouth.

"The result is you have a lot of faulty cars with dodgy brakes, dodgy steering and rebuilt machines driving around when they should be in a scrap yard."

He went on: "People have even taken the certificates into police offices and the scam has not been twigged."

Plans for the production of new-style certificates are already well under way.

They carry a different logo in the top left hand side showing the three triangles of the MoT sign in a circle.

Our source said: "That is not a problem to our forger. We will keep using the old ones until the new ones with a colour change come out in April. He is looking forward to the challenge."

The Daily Record has passed on the information plus the fake documents to Strathclyde police.

A spokesman said: "We will thoroughly investigate."

Sue Nicholson, of the RAC, said: "This is particularly worrying. We would advise anyone to deal with a recognised garage."

Neil Gregg, of the AA, said: "We would hope the police will clamp down on this horrendous misuse of MoT documents immediately."

Clocked cars dealer is jailed

A CAR dealer was jailed for six months yesterday for selling clocked cars.

Alexander McTavish had knocked 100,000 miles off the mileage of one car.

At Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court, the 54-year-old admitted six charges of false trade descriptions at his garage in Burntisland, Fife.

McTavish admitted falsely describing four vehicles and selling two of them between March and October 1996.

The court heard that McTavish, of Craig Court, Burntisland, had two clocking convictions from the 80s.

Since then, Fife Trading Standards had been keeping an eye on his firm, which turned over 400 cars a year.

His Kirkton Motors Garage was gutted in a fire last December and he had been trading from a smaller site.

Sheriff Francis Keane told McTavish: "A purchaser looks at a car from a dealer as something they can rely on."
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Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Griffiths, Stuart; Beaton, Charles
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Feb 13, 1999
Words:659
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