Lee Hill, 45, of Golborne was sentenced to twelve months in prison following an investigation conducted by the council’s trading standards service.


In August 2022, a consumer took her car to Mr Hill’s garage, Performance Northwest Ltd,Guardian Street, Warrington where he agreed to fit a new exhaust to her car, for £1,500.  

The consumer collected the vehicle and two weeks later she embarked on a 200-mile journey. However, while travelling, she noticed what she thought was steam coming from the rear of the vehicle. As she pulled in at a motorway service station, she saw fuel pouring out from underneath her car.

When a breakdown recovery mechanic examined the car, they advised that the exhaust was positioned to run directly underneath the fuel tank, and the heat had melted a six-inch hole in the plastic tank.

Hill agreed to repair the exhaust and replace the fuel tank with a new one. However, despite confirming to the consumer that the works involved fitting a new fuel tank, he only repaired the old one.

Following an investigation by Warrington Trading Standards, the case concluded in Liverpool Crown Court on Friday 22 March, when Mr Hill was sentenced following guilty pleas to one charge of supplying an unsafe product under the General Product Safety Regulations 2005 and one charge of misleading the consumer regarding the replacement fuel tank under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

Prior to sentencing Mr Hill, His Honour Judge Woodhall said the danger presented by the first repair was obvious and he had returned the vehicle to the victim in a dangerous condition. The fuel leakage could have contaminated the windscreens of other drivers on the road, as well as present the risk of fire.

The judge also recognised how the consumer’s independence and confidence when driving had been affected. His honour explained that compensation should be payable to her, but as neither the company or Hill had any funds, this was not possible.

Hill was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment for misleading the consumer, and eight months for supplying the vehicle in dangerous condition. He considered suspending the sentence because of impact on family, but concluded that this was not appropriate in the circumstance and the sentence was to begin immediately.

David Boyer, director of environment and transport at the council, said: “Our trading standards team welcomes complaints that they can investigate. Consumer safety is of the highest importance to ensure we protect the public from unsafe and dangerous practices.”

For advice or to report a trader, visit the Citizen’s Advice website, you can also phone the helpline number on 0808 223 1133 Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm or use the web chat. An online complaint form is available at the weekends.