A woman who unwittingly bought a horsebox that had been “clocked” to show more than 120,000 miles less than its true mileage, has been awarded £4,750 compensation after a Norfolk company and its boss ended up in court.

Magistrates fined Horsemaster (UK) Ltd a total of £10,000 and imposed a £5,000 fine on director John Nevins after both were found guilty of supplying a dangerous product and using false trades descriptions.

The Guildford court heard how Mrs Tracie Hussey, of Ripley, Surrey, ordered the Renault Master converted T35 horsebox from Horsemaster. When it arrived, the mileage clock showed 66,000 miles, yet the previous owner had sold it with 188,000 miles on the clock.

An examiner also unearthed a catalogue of faults, including protruding coachbolts at head height and a faulty exhaust pipe that would eventually have allowed poisonous carbon monoxide gas to seep into the horses’ compartment.

After Nevins failed to respond to Mrs Hussey’s complaints, she called in Surrey County Council’s Trading Standards team, which brought the case.

Jon Phillips of the Organisation of Horsebox & Trailer Owners (OHTO) says: “Sadly cases such as this are all too common with buyers mistakenly believing that because they are buying from a manufacturer they don’t need to get the horsebox checked independently. I would strongly advise all buyers to get professional advice when buying horse transport from any source.”

The OHTO offers a 90-point horsebox check service which checks the vehicle mechanically and structurally as well as verifying the mileage. For more information visit: www.horsebox-rescue.co.uk

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