Motor trader fined after car loses ill-fitted wheel at 60mph on A11 a day after sale
PUBLISHED: 09:25 13 July 2019 | UPDATED: 10:21 13 July 2019
A national motor trader has been fined thousands of pounds, after a car sold from its Norwich branch lost a wheel on the A11 - just a day after its sale.
On Wednesday, November 14, Car Shop on Boundary Lane in Hellesdon sold a pre-owned 2016 Renault Clio to a female customer.
The next day, the driver experienced a lucky escape after one of the car's front wheels came tumbling off - as it was driven at 60mph along the A11.
While the motorist was left unharmed by the incident, she was shocked and shaken by her near miss - which saw a quick-thinking lorry driver reposition and slow on the road to shield her vehicle from fellow road users.
Police investigations into the incident led to the discovery that the vehicle's wheel nuts were not correctly tightened. Officers found that two wheel nuts on one wheel were only tightened to two thirds of the level they should have been.
After Norfolk County Council's trading standards was alerted, a full investigation was launched, and on Thursday the national car supermarket appeared before magistrates in Norwich to face prosecution.
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The incident left the company with a court bill of £8,713.08, with magistrates in Norwich slapping it with a £6,667 fine, also ordering it to pay the £1,308.08 cost of bringing the case to court and a £666 victim charge.
After the hearing, Sophie Leney, head of the council's trading standards, said the car could have had "fatal consequences".
Following the hearing, James Dunkley, commercial director of Car Shop - which opened in Norwich in July 2012 - said the matter was "brought to a mutually satisfactory conclusion" with the customer - and that the technician responsible had been placed on a final warning.
He said: "We would like to reassure all our customers this was an isolated case caused by genuine human error.
"We apologised to the affected customer immediately and have worked with them to address their concerns and make things right.
"Following a review of this case we have added extra checks on every vehicle at the point of repair and quality control to a level that exceeds industry standards.
"We have also partnered with the RAC to conduct daily independent inspections of select vehicles."
The firm said the car had been bought through its preparation facility in Leighton Buzzard, which is where the error would have happened.