Airport parking ‘scammer used pic of car park 400 MILES away to trick customers before dumping vehicles in muddy fields’
AN airport parking scammer used a snap of a hospital 400miles away to con passengers into thinking their cars were safe then dumped them in muddy fields with the keys stuck to the windscreen, a court heard.
Asad Malik, 38, used pictures of Borders General Hospital, in Scotland, to trick drivers into leaving their motors with his phoney firms ‘London Parking Gatwick’ and ‘Easy Meet and Greet Gatwick’, it is alleged.
In reality they were dumped in muddy fields and bushes across the south then left unlocked with windows open and keys in a plastic wallet stuck to the windscreen.
One duped holidaymaker saw his Mini dumped in a muddy bog on a TV news bulletin while he was in Spain, Lewes Crown Court heard today.
Another owner found their car had been driven 185 miles while they were away.
Other drivers found they had unpaid parking tickets or their cars had been parked at a mosque when they returned home.
Malik’s websites claimed the cars would be parked in secure compounds with CCTV by professional chauffeurs.
But a number of vehicles were returned damaged while some were not returned at all, the jury was told.
Then if customers made complaints they were simply fobbed off – even though Malik was said to have pocketed £1million through the scheme.
When Trading Standards Officers went to the sites, they found no gates, fencing or CCTV, the court heard.
Richard Heller, prosecuting, said: “Malik traded through the named companies in such a way that people were defrauded into paying for parking services to have been of an entirely different quality and character than the reality.
“When you are in the right, when you are in the wrong or quite simply when you are being dishonest or misleading, if your site doesn’t have CCTV or you don’t own the facilities when you claim you do, you are not telling the truth.
“Someone is far more likely to pay for your service than if you tell them it’s going to be kept in a muddy field or forest. And pay they did, this was big business.”
The websites used customer testimonials written in mangled English as if it had been translated using Google, the court heard.
Mr Heller said: “Mr John Smith left a review in December 2014 in which he described how his ‘experience with them was the most suitable one, as I paid very less there which was the around trip of taxi fare and got the full service both ends of my journey’.”
But describing a genuine experience, the prosecutor added: “In June 2016, Sylvia Goodman said her car was returned with a bent key, the language on the dashboard display was changed to one she didn’t recognise, there was hardly any fuel left, it was dirty, the time had been changed and there was litter in the car including a Co-Op receipt for mini garlic naans.”
The receipt showed the bread was purchased four hours after she handed the car over, the court heard.
Mr Heller said: “A young man called Keegan Bowes watched that broadcast in Majorca on holiday and was rather alarmed to see his own car.
“He expected it to be parked in a secure location, not in a field where it had been left.
“He contacted his mother Linda Glover and arranged for her to collect the car.
“She discovered the passenger door would not open and the satnav was missing.”
Ross Newman said his BMW GT had a tow bar style dent in the front bumper after booking meet and greet parking with London Parking Gatwick.
And his car had travelled 24 miles after being told the parking location was only 3.8 miles from Gatwick Airport.
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Mr Heller added: “He was very suspicious of the driver returning his car as he thought he was trying to prevent any damage being seen and made off very quickly.”
Another Ford Mondeo was returned with a smashed brake light.
Asad Malik, of Crawley, Sussex, denies six counts of variously making fraudulent claims, engaging in misleading commercial practise and unfair commercial practice between 2014 and 2016.
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