TRADING Standards chiefs are dealing with more than 40 complaints from angry customers of a Hampshire second-hand car dealership – and warned it could end in prosecution, the Daily Echo can reveal.

Woolston Car Supermarket in Southampton closed a fortnight ago leaving people, who claim they have been sold shoddy cars and handed bouncing refund cheques, in the lurch.

A Daily Echo investigation then tracked the dealership down to a new site in Fareham where director Stanley Rudgley, left, reopened his firm as Fort Wallington Car Sales. Since then Southampton City Council’s Trading Standards team has been flooded with complaints from angry motorists about the cars they have been sold and say they are now investigating whether there are any grounds for legal action.

Complaints surround claims that Mr Rudgley and other dealers sold the vehicles with a catalogue of defects – some of them dangerous.

Last night Trading Standards confirmed Mr Rudgely had been interviewed surrounding the allegations.

A spokesman said: “The team are doing all they can to assist customers who have been mistreated and will be working to ensure that this business complies with trading standards law.

“If it can be established that cars have been mis-described then it may be that criminal offences have been committed, in which case these will be investigated and if proven the council may prosecute.”

The Daily Echo tracked down the company to the new site in Fort Wallington Industrial Estate, Fareham, where its owner Stan Rudgley was confronted by people demanding either refunds or their traded-in cars back. They were promised a resolution by this Friday.

Yester-day the Daily Echo featured an interview with Richard Burbage, below, who is linked with Woolston Car Supermarket and is the former co-director and owner of second car company in Australia that folded owing millions to customers.

Despite his involvement, he denied any responsibility for the fiasco at the Southampton dealership and said he had left Australia after receiving death threats. Trading Standards is advising people who may have been miss-sold cars to contact the National Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 08454 04 05 06.