HOW strange... When a number of cars were found abandoned on a supermarket car park who should turn up?
Two of Hampshire’s most notorious car dealers.
Richard Burbage and Stan Rudgley were spotted by the Daily Echo studying notices placed on abandoned cars at the car park at the Sainsbury’s superstore on Fareham Industrial Estate.
As reported, the pair have been linked to firms that closed down following fury over faulty cars they were selling.
One included Fort Wallington Car Sales based on an industrial estate which has since closed down, a short drive from Sainsbury’s.
It is believed the supermarket car park is being used to store cars before they are driven off to another location.
But mystery surrounds how or when they got there – and no one is certain who they belong to.
Some of the cars are not taxed – and a dead mouse was spotted in the front passenger seat in another.
A large sign with a price on it – obviously from a show room – was sitting on the front seat of another vehicle.
Fed-up store bosses have launched a crackdown and called on Fareham Borough Council parking chiefs to take action.
Police are also investigating after two men were spotted getting into the abandoned cars – still with notices attached to them – and driving out of the car park.
The Daily Echo understands the cars were parked more than a week ago before parking officials noticed.
Council staff placed fresh bright orange penalty notices on a number of abandoned cars in the Sainsbury’s car park, and shared car park for the nearby Staples and Dreams stores on Tuesday morning.
One worker said notices were being replaced on the front windscreens after initial ones had been removed.
There were discarded notices littered around parts of the car park.
The notices warned the vehicles will be removed and disposed of within 15 days if no action is taken by the owner.
The Daily Echo counted 13 vehicles with notices in the Sainsbury’s car park, and eight in other car parks nearby.
Intrigued shoppers were seen walking up to the eye-catching notices throughout the day.
Then, the Daily Echo spotted Mr Burbage arriving in a blue car driven by Mr Rudgley.
Mr Burbage got of the car and analysed a notice on one of the cars.
When confronted, he said he had nothing to do with the cars and stressed he was not in business with Mr Rudgley.
Mr Rudgley said none of the cars were his, before being advised by Mr Burbage not to make any comment.
Mr Burbage then got back into the car and the pair promptly left the car park.
However later Mr Rudgley returned and drove up to a black Citroen with a notice in the window.
A passenger got out of the vehicle and poured what appeared to be a bottle of water over the notice before they drove off.
The next day, two unknown individuals were seen getting into the abandoned cars and driving off.
The Daily Echo photographed them getting into a black Suzuki before one of them got out and into another blue abandoned car.
They then both drove the cars out of the car park.
But time is running out for the practice of storing cars in car parks, as they have just 12 days to collect the vehicles – or risk having them taken away by the council. Police could also take action after confirming a number of calls were made to them over the cars being driven away.
Sainsbury’s said it was working with the council to deal with the cars.
However, a council spokesman said the authority did not know who the cars belong to.
They said: “We are currently working with Sainsbury’s following reports of abandoned cars.
“We use our licensing and regulatory powers to reduce the risk of danger and to help prevent vandalism or any crime associated with abandoned vehicles.”
The council states checks are undertaken to find out if the owner can be traced and they may be charged for action taken on the vehicle.
A spokesman from Hampshire Constabulary said: “We have had two reports about cars being taken from Sainsbury’s, but have been told that others have been taken over the past few days. They were a black Citroen and a silver Renault.”
Furious Burbage claims he hired private detective to trail reporter
DURING the confrontation with the Daily Echo, Richard Burbage said he hired a private detective to track one of our reporters.
A furious Mr Burbage said he knew where they lived and what clubs they attend as a result.
He claimed his family was being harassed by the press and even had photographers jumping
over his garden wall.
When asked to discuss the matter further, Mr Burbage refused and got into the car in which he
was a passenger.
The car, which was driven by business associate Stan Rudgley, then drove off out of the car park.
Background to the saga
THE Daily Echo was inundated with complaints from customers sold vehicles at Woolston Car Supermarket – a business where Stan Rudgley and Richard Burbage both worked.
This was back in January after the business suddenly closed and the stories came in thick and fast, with customers claiming they had been left in the lurch after demanding refunds and car repairs.
Horror stories also included someone buying a previously written-off vehicle and a car fitted with unregistered plates.
Others were found to be dangerous.
The premises were found abandoned but Daily Echo investigations discovered the dealership had moved to an industrial estate in Fareham, opening up as Fort Wallington Car Sales with Stan Rudgley as director.
Mr Rudgley was confronted by the Daily Echo and filmed promising to make amends to people who bought faulty cars, as well as refunds – after issuing bouncing cheques.
But dozens of people were left in the lurch again after that dealership also closed.
Documents also show Mr Burbage and Mr Rudgley are connected to another business called Hampshire Vehicle Sales run from Hazel Road in Woolston.
It was also revealed how police are investigating claims Mr Burbage was being investigated by police amid allegations he threatened a customer who claims he is owed money.
It led to Mr Burbage contacting the Daily Echo and unleashing an angry torrent of abuse.
Trading Standards also launched an investigation into claims surrounding Woolston Car Supermarket and Fort Wallington Car Sales.