Court: Car Conversion Centre, of Noak Hill, left Mercedes ‘unroadworthy’ and needing £12k of repairs after trying to convert it to left-hand drive

Appiah must pay a total of £6,170

Appiah must pay a total of £6,170 - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

A man whose Noak Hill firm tried to convert a Mercedes from right-hand to left-hand drive but instead rendered it unroadworthy was hit with a £6,000 bill by Romford magistrates.

Havering Council, who brought the prosecution, said Clifford Appiah’s Car Conversion Centre left the vehicle with multiple fire risks, exposed wiring, chassis damage, a misaligned steering wheel, dangerous brake and steering modifications, and a piece of waterlogged carpet.

Magistrates told Appiah, 49, of Goodview Road, Basildon, his firm’s work would cause a “very high risk of injury” for anyone who tried to drive the car.

Appiah was in charge of the business, based in Bryant Row, Cummings Hall Lane, in April 2011 when it accepted nearly £3,000 to convert the car so it could be driven in Spain.

It was an incredible nine months before the vehicle’s owner could get hold of Appiah.

And when he was finally told the car was ready for collection, he saw scratched paintwork and missing guttering – before discovering 14 separate hazards that left it unroadworthy.

The council’s vehicle inspectors concluded the damage would have cost more than £11,700 to repair.

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Appiah, who pleaded guilty to engaging in an unfair commercial practice, was ordered to pay £5,000 compensation, £1,155 prosecution costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

Cabinet member for public protection Cllr Lesley Kelly said: “We deplore anyone who thinks it’s acceptable to cut corners and take shortcuts in a bid to make a quick profit.

“In this case, the negligence displayed by Car Conversions could have led to dire consequences, and it was with this in mind that we decided to push for the strongest verdict.

“We hope this case drives the message home: we do not tolerate those who don’t play by the rules.”