Man who ran fake Gatwick airport parking service convicted

A ROGUE-TRADER who ran a bogus airport parking service has been convicted.

Muhammad Muneeb Amjad tricked customers into thinking their cars were safely parked after leaving them at Gatwick Airport as part of Park Direct Gatwick Ltd’s meet and greet service.

However, the 33-year-old parked the cars in an open field as West Sussex Trading Standards Officers discovered many were unlocked.

At least one of the vehicles was damaged, while dash cam footage showed it had been driven.

At Lewes Crown Court, Amjad was sentenced to 12 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, after pleading guilty to engaging in deceptive marketing practices.

Amjad, of Pycroft Way, London, was also ordered to complete a 10-day rehabilitation course, undertake 60 hours of unpaid work and pay compensation to seven victims for a total of £1,141 and costs of £1 £200.

In July 2019 West Sussex Trading Standards became aware that Park Direct Gatwick Ltd was using land at Ifield to park customer vehicles flying in from Gatwick Airport.

The company and the manager were already known to the service, having been previously warned of the same behavior.

Officers carried out an unannounced inspection and found around 200-300 vehicles parked close together, some almost touching, with many vehicles left unlocked.

Vehicle details were recorded and letters were sent to registered holders, who confirmed they had used Park Direct Gatwick Ltd and believed their cars were parked safely in a locked car park with CCTV.

Trading Standards received a separate complaint from a customer whose car was returned damaged, which the company refused to repair or pay.

She provided dash cam footage to the inquest which showed her car being driven about eight days before she was due to collect it.

The judge told Amjad to pay this victim £566 in compensation as part of his sentence.

The company went into liquidation. However, Amjad was sued under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Commercial Practices Regulations 2008.

Richard Sargeant, West Sussex Trading Standards team leader, said: ‘Despite being previously warned of this activity, Mr Amjad’s company continued to mislead passengers into believing that their vehicles were secure, when in fact they were left unlocked in a field that anyone could access. I want to thank the customers for coming forward and helping bring him to justice.

Duncan Crow, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Community Fire and Rescue Support, said: ‘The outcome of this investigation should serve as a stark warning to all dishonest traders: we will find out what what you do and we will take action against you.”

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