A MECHANIC who was ‘blinded by financial gain and greed’ issued MOT certificates for vehicles without testing them, a court has heard.

Allen Garrett was working at MOT Supercentre, in Hanson Road, Andover, when he issued false certificates for 28 vehicles. 

Garrett’s employer did not know about his fraudulent behaviour. 

The 27-year-old was part of a network that provided MOT certificates for vehicles that were never examined - he was paid £100 per vehicle.

The fraud came to light when a Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency examiner was checking records on February 10 and noticed that a BMW had been issued an MOT certificate on February 9 at the Andover garage.

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The same BMW had been issued with fraudulent test certificates twice in the previous 18 months. Both of those had led to the prosecution of the individual testers.

It was found that a mobile phone was used to issue the February certificate, which was unusual as a computer system is normally used to generate MOT certificates.

The examiner contacted the site manager at the garage where Garrett worked to check if the BMW was ever tested, but it was found that there was no booking reference for the vehicle at the test centre.

Further investigations revealed that a pass certificate had been issued for another BMW on November 7. However, the same car was produced in Scotland two hours earlier and had failed the MOT test for multiple safety-related issues.

That testing centre was 400 miles and a seven-hour drive away from Andover. So, the same car couldn't be produced in Andover two hours later.

Garrett pleaded guilty to 28 counts of fraud by false representation during a hearing at Salisbury Magistrates’ Court on February 26.

He appeared at Winchester Crown Court on Friday, April 12, to be sentenced.

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Prosecutor Felicity Hine said Garrett issued certificates for a range of vehicles including a Hyundai, a Nissan, a Land Rover Discovery and a Mercedes van.

Of the 28 vehicles he issued false certificates for 20 had their passes revoked. Of those, seven vehicles never passed again.

The court heard that Garrett, while being interviewed on February 25, had said: “I know how wrong it is and how severe the consequences can be for what I have done.

“I was blinded by financial gain and greed. I’m embarrassed, ashamed, and disappointed in myself. I have been an idiot and deserve what I got.

“My employer, MOT Supercentre, had no idea or any involvement with issuing certificates of these vehicles.”

In mitigation, Kate Davies said Garrett is trying to rebuild his reputation by starting his own business.

She added that Garrett was a man of previously good character and submitted two character references including one from the father of his partner.

In sentencing, Judge R Taylor handed Garrett a 20-month prison sentence suspended for two years.

The judge said: “This undermines the integrity of the entire system. These vehicles are used on public highways without a certificate from a qualified and authorised nominated tester. It presented a really serious risk to road safety.

"There is an MOT database. Buyers of second-hand cars gain confidence from this database believing that the cars on the database are safe and roadworthy. It seems to me that the offences went on for a period of time and came to an end only because you were found out.

"You showed complete and utter disregard to the safety of anyone who might use these cars and also any other road users if these vehicles cause an accident.

"You abused your position of trust and accountability. It was sophisticated and involved quite a bit of planning because you were part of a network.”

Garrett must complete 200 hours of unpaid work and pay £3,219.64 to Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency.