MYSTERY surrounds the whereabouts of Hampshire secondhand car dealers at the centre of scores of complaints over defective cars and bouncing refund cheques.
For the past two weeks shutters have been down at Fort Wallington Car Sales in Fareham after its director moved his firm lock, stock and barrel from a showroom in Southampton last month.
This has left dozens of customers who are demanding repairs or refunds in the lurch.
Hampshire police last night confirmed they were continuing to investigate disputes and Southampton City Council Trading Standards has issued advice to outof- pocket motorists.
Last month Woolston Car Supermarket dealership in Hazel Road, Southampton, closed suddenly amid mounting complaints over vehicles they were selling and moved to a new site on a Fareham industrial estate.
One businessman there, who did not want to be named, said they have not seen any movement at the site for a fortnight.
When the Daily Echo went to speak to Stan Rudgley at this home in Woolston, a man appeared at the door and said that Mr Rudgley had moved out one month ago and he did not know where he was.
Mr Rudgley has also been uncontactable by phone and by email.
According to the official list of business information, Companies House, the official address for Woolston Car Supermarket Ltd and the company trading as Fort Wallington Car Sales, Service 4 Life Ltd, is now a post box in Manchester.
With Mr Rudgley unavailable for comment it is unclear why the businesses are registered there.
Now dozens of customers demanding refunds or other compensation are furious because Mr Rudgley has closed without explanation on how he intends to make amends This comes after the Daily Echo confronted him with customers and wrested a promise he would settle disputes.
Mr Rudgley (L) speaking with The Southern Daily Echo before his disappearance
One customer, Afghan war veteran and dad Danny Critchley, 37, from Locks Heath, who handed over £2,500 for his Ford Transit Connect to help start a business after he left the Army, said: “I’m just sick because I am just trying to get my money back.
“It has been causing me a lot of stress. To be honest I have no idea what to do next.
Whatever Trading Standards are doing they need to be doing it better.”
Anyone with information can contact Hampshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.