THE owner of a Heathrow ‘meet and greet’ parking firm, who earned an estimated £500,000 while falsely claiming to offer customers secure airport parking, has been jailed for eight months.
Muhammad Zaman, 40, owner of now-defunct Connect Parking, first came to the attention of Hillingdon Council in April 2017.
More than 100 of his customers’ vehicles were found in pay-and-display car parks in Brandville Road and Fairfield Road, West Drayton, during the Easter bank holiday.
A year-long investigation, code-named Operation Buzzard, by trading standards officers followed.
It showed that Connect routinely used insecure locations to store customers’ vehicles, including a car park behind an adult entertainment club on the A4 in Colnbrook and a muddy field in Iver, which was unmanned.
The council also received allegations that the firm used on-street parking bays and hotel car parks.
There were other reports of vehicles clocking up excessive mileage while in the care of Connect, with some owners returning to find their cars had travelled 300 miles.
Appearing at Isleworth Crown Court for sentencing, Zaman was jailed for eight months for fraud by false representation and breaches of consumer protection laws. He had pleaded guilty to all offences.
During a confiscation hearing ahead of sentencing, Zaman revealed he had been declared bankrupt. As a result, the council was unable to confiscate any earnings or recover any costs.
Cllr John Riley, Hillingdon cabinet member for transport, said: “He abused his customers’ trust in the most brazen way, while making a great deal of money.”