A NOTORIOUS Hampshire car dealer, who conned hundreds of people out of thousands of pounds, has been jailed for six years.

Richard Burbage was sentenced yesterday following a lengthy trial at Salisbury Crown Court, where he was found guilty of five counts of fraudulent trading, by a jury.

He was put behind bars beside another dealer, Stanley Rudgley, who received a prison term of three years and fours months.

The decision comes following a Daily Echo investigation about complaints from angry ex-customers who were sold faulty cars and denied refunds.

Hampshire Trading Standards then launched a massive probe to bring those responsible to justice after also receiving hundreds of complaints about Burbage and his associate Rudgley.

The investigation originally started in 2013, when Southampton Trading Standards began an inquiry into Woolston Car Supermarket, but was subsequently taken over by the Hampshire arm.

During the case, which lasted more than a month, jurors heard how Burbage, 44, of Poplar Way, Hedge End, removed more than a million miles from the odometers of 17 sample cars which represented a tiny percentage of those involved.

The court heard customers were confronted by “pushy” salesmen who persuaded them they were getting a bargain, but whose “lies and misrepresentations” amounted to fraud.

Jurors were told of four businesses were initially linked to the defendants – Hampshire Vehicle Sales, Woolston Car Supermarket, Service 4 Life and Deltaflag.

Then when the inquiry was handed over to Hampshire Trading Standards, they investigated a fifth firm, Swiftbird, which was formed in 2014.

Last week, after three-and-a-half days of deliberation, the jury returned guilty verdicts on five charges of fraudulent trading which included clocking car mileages, giving false descriptions of vehicles, failing to deliver vehicles, forging vehicle documents, falsifying warranties and failing to give refunds.

Addressing Burbage at the end of the trial, Judge Barnett said: “You have been convicted on five counts of fraudulent trading.

“They are very serious, and there is a great deal of money involved and a great deal of misery for the public.”

Burbage, was pleaded not guilty, and Rudgley, who pleaded guilty, were both ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £120 each.

Two co-defendants, Ryan Overton and Darryl Warren were acquitted and found not guilty of all charges they faced.