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Car clocker facing prison for running a cannabis factory

By Michael Donnelly

Published 11/02/2016

Samuel Surgenor
Samuel Surgenor

A Co Antrim man is the first car dealer brought before the Crown Court for 'clocking' vehicles.

Samuel Surgenor (50), who faces jail in a court hearing later this week for growing cannabis, admitted "engaging in misleading commercial practice" by turning the mileage back on an Audi and BMWs.

Prosecution lawyer Philip Henry told Antrim Crown Court such cases would normally be dealt with in magistrates courts, where Surgenor has previous convictions in his name and that of two car dealerships.

Mr Henry said the defendant, operating as SDK Motors, originally faced seven charges related to vehicles, but admitted two further "catch-all counts" .

The lawyer said that in the first case, that of an Audi, Surgenor had sold the car. But in the second, he was caught after Trading Standards were told about the mileage of a BMW he was selling.

Mr Henry said he told a buyer the Audi's mileage was 110,000, but it was 135,000 miles.

Surgenor (left), of Moorfields Road, Ballymena, also accepted he had failed to fix "a knocking noise", which was part of the deal.

Two months later, in August 2013, Trading Standards were advised to check on a BMW offered for sale with 124,000 miles on the clock. The auctioneer who originally sold the car said the true mileage should have been more than 160,000 miles.

Defence lawyer Stephen Law told judge Desmond Marrinan that Surgenor had always intended to plead guilty so the matter could be resolved without a trial. Mr Law said his client's business was a one-man outfit dealing in low-cost cars.

The lawyer said Surgenor was going through a bereavement at the time.

Adjourning sentence, judge Marrinan indicated he intended to jail Surgenor, not for his car deals, but for his involvement in a cannabis factory.

At an earlier hearing, the defendant was described as the "most culpable" of four men who admitted involvement in running the factory on Deerfin Road in Ballymena, near where he ran a garage.

Surgenor was said to have been heavily involved in the maintenance of the 270 cannabis plants, with an estimated street value of £135,000, which were uncovered by police in December 2013.

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