A camper van converter who had previously carried out work for singer Madonna and film director Guy Ritchie has been prosecuted for a second time for supplying a dangerous vehicle to a customer.
Trading as Touch of Class Upholstery, Dayne Bartlett, 48, of Penallta Road, Ystrad Mynach, converted a VW Transporter van for a customer in September 2015 at a cost of £15,000.
Soon after the work was done however, the van owner started noticing problems and became concerned about the security of some of the vehicle’s seats.
Having taken it to a garage where it was indicated that it was dangerous, the owner got in touch with Caerphilly County Borough Council’s Trading Standards.
An independent vehicle examiner confirmed that the rear seat/bed conversion and the front middle seat belt were defective, meaning the vehicle had been supplied back to the owner in a dangerous condition.
Bartlett originally denied the offence under the General Product Safety Regulations 2005, but changed his plea at a hearing on Friday April 21 Newport Magistrates’ Court.
He was given a Community Service Order to carry out 170 hours of unpaid work within 12 months, which was reduced from 200 hours for entering a guilty plea. He was also ordered to pay costs to the council of £2,964 and a victim surcharge of £85.
The court heard how Bartlett had been previously convicted in June 2015 of two similar offences – four months before he supplied the dangerous vehicle to the customer in this instance.
Sentencing Bartlett, Chair of the magistrates’ bench Wendy Doble said: “We have carefully considered the evidence and have gauged [Bartlett’s] culpability as high. The defects were self-evident and any professional craftsman would have remedied them before delivering… there is also the recent conviction which [he] should have learned from. In relation to harm, no one was injured but that was more by luck than judgement.”
Rob Hartshorn, Caerphilly County Borough Council’s Head of Public Protection, said: “This is the second time in less than two years that our Trading Standards team have brought about a successful prosecution against this individual.
“Both occasions have involved the safety of vehicles supplied to unsuspecting customers, which simply cannot be allowed to happen. I hope this prosecution highlights to both Mr Bartlett and indeed anyone else who feels they can dupe paying customers that they will not get away with these practices.”
This article was updated to correct the name of the chair of the magistrates’ bench.