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Used car salesman behind We Sell Any Vehicle company jailed for selling ‘death traps’

A used car salesman who sold “death traps” despite repeated warnings from Trading Standards has been jailed.

A man who bought a Ford Focus from Nishar Bathas Leicester dealer was lucky to avoid serious injury after a piston smashed through the M1’s engine block two days after the purchase.

The vehicle came to a sudden stop, spilling engine oil across the carriageway and causing lengthy delays on the motorway, Leicester Crown Court was told.

READ MORE: Catch up on the latest court news on LeicestershireLive

Another customer of Batha’s We Sell Any Vehicle company in Woodgate, Leicester, was so concerned about the condition of the vehicle that she took it to Halfords to have it checked, where she was warned it was a “death trap” and would die collapsing in a collision Crossbar was broken.

She later sued Batha and won compensation in Leicester County Court.

Both incidents came after a stern letter from Trading Standards in May 2017 warned him about consumer rights and that getting vehicles through their MOT is not enough to ensure they are safe.

And in December 2018, Trading Standards was forced to issue five notices barring it from advertising or selling five vehicles it inspected on site and found unroadworthy.

But when officers next checked, four of the vehicles were still for sale and the fifth had been sold.

Batha, 54, was sentenced to 20 months in prison by Judge Robert Brown, who said only an immediate sentence was appropriate as his offense had been “premeditated and persistent” and he had ignored several warnings and legal advice from the Leicester Trading Standards .

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The judge described the Ford Focus driver’s “very frightening experience” on the M1.

He said: “Fortunately no one was injured, but it is no exaggeration to say that a vehicle in this condition posed a risk to life and limb.”

The judge said Batha had been “defiant and aggressive” towards customers who complained and that Batha had “absolutely no respect” for the role of trade inspectors in keeping consumers safe.

The court heard Batha denied them access when Trading Standards reverted to “We Sell Any Vehicle” following the M1 incident in May 2019, which was itself a criminal offense but with which he was not charged, the court heard.

After Trading Standards began, prosecutors denied Batha two charges of selling dangerous vehicles and four charges of ignoring safety instructions, only changing his plea to guilty after it was listed for a full trial.

Batha, from Union Street, Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, was not only jailed for 20 months but was also ordered to pay £37,000 in Trade Standards investigation and prosecution costs while his company, trading as Top Tech Trade Ltd , was fined £500.

Batha was also banned from being a company director in the UK for the next 10 years.

Earlier in the hearing, Batha’s defense attorney Michael Anning said the crimes that took place in 2018 and 2019 were “isolated” incidents and that Batha has since sold about 2,000 vehicles with no complaints.

But prosecutor James Bruce argued that was not the case – Trading Standards was in fact still conducting an active investigation into Batha’s more recent conduct.

Mr Anning told the court Batha was “significantly overworked” at the time of the offences, and his business was the only income for him and his wife, who are also supporting two sons in their 20s, both of whom are in full-time education.

He added that We Sell Any Vehicle, which is still trading, also employs nine people.

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