A Ramsey mechanic used eBay to con customers out of £30,000.
Simon Bond, of High Street, Chatteris, advertised car parts and garages services on the online auction site but when customers used his services, the 32-year-old demanded extra cash for other jobs he said needed carrying out.
A customer from Northampton paid £1,300 for repairs to his Mitsubishi Warrior in April 2012, but Bond had not returned it eight months later.
Another customer, from North Wales, rang officers in January last year after Bond had failed to return a Land Rover Discovery he had taken to repair in November 2012.
Officers found the vehicles, along with a stolen van, at Bond’s site in St Mary’s Road, Ramsey, on January 12, 2013.
After he was arrested in February 2013, Bond was linked with 10 other potential victims by Trading Standards.
Bond admitted eight charges of fraud and one motor vehicle theft and asked for three further offences to be taken into consideration.
At Peterborough Crown Court on Thursday (June 19), Bond was given a 12-month sentence suspended for two years with two years’ supervision. He was ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and to go on a Thinking Skills programme.
Bond was also tagged with a curfew from 9pm to 6am for two months.
Detective Constable Mark Yendley said: “Bond fished for potential victims by putting adverts online.
“Once he had their vehicles for repair, he would effectively hold them to ransom, asking for more money, often for fictitious work.
“People like him give the industry a bad name and we will continue working with Trading Standards to bring such fraudsters to justice.”
Cambridgeshire County Council’s head of supporting businesses and communities Nikki Pasek added: “This is another excellent example of joint working between our Trading Standards Officers and the police, and it gives a clear message that rogue trading will not be tolerated in our county.”