Date issued: 30 October
A Halstead man has been found guilty at Southend Magistrates Court for three counts of advertising vehicles for sale without permission on the public highway in Colchester.
Richard Merton of Shellards Lane, Wickham St Paul, Halstead, was fined £600 and ordered to pay £400 costs and £30 victim surcharge by magistrates on Wednesday 30 October for breaching Section 224 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. He had pleaded not guilty to the offences.
The successful prosecution was taken by Colchester Borough Council following an extensive investigation by its planning enforcement officers.
Magistrates heard how stationary vehicles with no registered keeper details held by the DVLA were being used to advertise the unregistered company Cash 4 All Cars at various locations across the borough between April and May this year.
Officers were able to use information from council tax payments to confirm Merton’s address which is where one of the vehicles was registered.
An investigation by the council’s planning enforcement team uncovered a link between Merton and three of the vehicles. He claimed in court he no longer worked for Cash 4 All Cars, was not working for them at the time of the offence and had moved from the address linking him to the vehicle.
As the advertisements are illegal and the company are committing a criminal offence the council is now considering using the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to recover any money raised as a result.
Cllr Mike Lilley, Portfolio Holder for Communities, Wellbeing and Public Safety, said: “This successful prosecution resulting from fantastic work by our planning enforcement team will hopefully send a clear message to those blighting our streets with unauthorised advertisements.
“We will be actively continuing to investigate vehicles from this company which continue to be left around the borough. It is simple - we will pursue you and you will end up in court.”