Inexperience and naivety when joining the classic car world can sometimes mean the opposite of the cash cow dream.
The BBC reported that dozens of classic vehicle owners had been stripped of not only their pride and joy, but also some well earned cash by a now invisible ‘entrepreneur’ who decided to give his bank balance some restoration, instead of the cars he was trusted with.
Approximately 40 ‘customers’ say Christopher Handford has taken their money for work that was not and will never be carried out.
Classic Crime Restoration Business
Handford’s restoration business has now raked in nearly £300,000 from disgruntled punters to North West Mini Motors in Glossop, Derbyshire.
New owners of the same garage say the classic restorer vanished in October, leaving a vintage scrapyard behind him.
Upset friend and customer, Matthew Slater said:
“I’m devestated it has cost me more than £20,000.
“I was promised two full restorations and that has just not happened, I just got empty promises.
“I have known him for six years and he should not have done this to a friend, let alone anyone else.”
Another loyal Mini Club member, Will Taylor also sent a car to Mr Handford said of his experience:
“It went in as a nice show car – polished, clean, shiny wheels.
“There’s actually more rust on it now than when it went in.
“I considered us quite close friends – obviously friends shouldn’t do this to each other.”
Beverley Hulme had a lucky escape when her car was found ‘intact’ and untouched, however was still out of pocket. The Mini classic was said to be part of the family history for over 40 years and is exactly as it was before parting with the cash to restore it to former glory.
“We’re actually one of the fortunate victims in so much as he hasn’t actually been touched and we’ve got it back.
“There’s a lot of people who are in a lot worse position.
“We gave stage payments based on confirmation from Chris Handford in the form of emails/photographs that work had been undertaken at various stages over an extended period of time.
“We did not pay in full up front.
“There could be potentially so many more [victims] out there that we can’t get hold of.
“It’s a case of making sure he doesn’t do this again and take money from other people.”
The BBC reports it has repeatedly tried to reach Mr Handford for comment.
Derbyshire Police has confirmed it is investigating.
Have you been a victim of similar classic crime?