Travellers parking their cars at Gatwick airport, near London, were shown pictures of Borders General Hospital in Melrose and were told their cars would be parked safely there, a court has been told.
The jury in the case against Asad Malik heard their cars were instead dumped in a muddy field.
It’s claimed Asad Malik earned more than £1million over a two-year period.
The customers believed their cars were being parked in a secure area, but were instead taken on joyrides, dumped in a field, or left by a petrol station and a mosque, Lewes Crown Court in Brighton heard.
The barrister acting for West Sussex County Council Trading Standards, Richard Heller, said Malik, 37, from Crawley, fraudulently claimed customers’ cars would be kept secure and returned undamaged, and that Malik also told customers they had no right to complain after leaving the airport, despite warnings he was breaking the law.
Customers’ cars were used to drag other vehicles through mud, returned damaged and dirty and complaints were ignored, Mr Heller said.
Mr Malik and his company London Parking Gatwick Ltd are accused of six counts of fraudulent trading, unfair and misleading commercial practice between October 2015 and August 2016.
The court heard several complaints which were uncovered by Trading Standards Officers, with more angry customers coming forward during the investigation.
Mr Heller said: “In June 2016, Sylvia Goodman said her car was returned with a bent key, the language on the dashboard display was changed to one she didn’t recognise, there was hardly any fuel left, it was dirty, the time had been changed and there was litter in the car including a Co-Op receipt for mini garlic naans,” Mr Heller said.
Another customer, Christopher Allen, said he was forced to search through fields himself for his own car.
Trading Standards officers gathered the information against Malik, by booking in several cars fitted with a tracking devices.
Mr Heller said: “The investigation revealed a multiplicity of dishonest practice, misleading claims and unfair commercial practices.”
Asad Malik and London Parking Gatwick Ltd deny six counts of fraudulent trading. The trial continues.