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Car wash owner fined for breaching Covid-19 trading restrictions

A 37-year-old man from West Sussex has pleaded guilty to persistently breaching government regulations by operating his car wash business during periods of lockdown.

Saman Ahmed, of Langley Green, Crawley was issued with fines of £400 (£100 per offence), costs of £1,820.41 and a victim surcharge of £40 totalling £2,260.21 at Crawley Magistrates' Court on Thursday 20 May.

Mr Ahmed’s business, Express Car Wash Services Limited, was taken to court by West Sussex Trading Standards after it was found to be open on numerous occasions during lockdown periods that specifically required car wash businesses to be closed.

Most of the breaches occurred during November 2020, when national coronavirus regulations were in force, with a subsequent breach occurring on Sunday 27 December 2020, when further regulations were in force which required the closure of car wash businesses (excluding automated car washes) in Tier 4 areas.

Mr Ahmed and Express Car Wash Limited both entered guilty pleas to all charges.

Richard Sargeant, Trading Standards Team Manager at West Sussex County Council, said: “During the pandemic it was paramount for all businesses to follow the local and national restrictions laid out by government to help stop the spread of Covid-19, however, Mr Ahmed blatantly ignored the restrictions which were in place and continued to keep his premises at 114 London Road, Crawley running.

“Mr Ahmed is the sole Director of Express Car Wash Services Limited and was on site every time Environmental Health, Trading Standards and Sussex Police visited regarding lockdown breaches. Even though he was given advice on each visit that the car wash should be closed, he continued to allow the business to operate.

“We hope that this ruling will make other business owners think twice before ignoring similar rules and regulations that may be laid down by government in future.”

Anyone who thinks they have been a victim of an unfair trading practice can contact Trading Standards via Citizens Advice on 0808 223 1133 or report an incident or issue to Trading Standards online.

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