Classic Mini enthusiast ‘fled with £300,000 of collectors’ money’
A classic Mini enthusiast has allegedly fled with £300,000 of collectors’ money after stripping parts from 40 valuable vehicles.
The customers, who include a "close friend", paid North West Mini Motors in Glossop, Derbyshire to renovate their prized vehicles.
However, he vanished in October last year, the new owners of the garage said, leaving car parts behind.
Mr Handford could not be reached for comment.
Matthew Slater told BBC News that the experience has cost him more than £20,000. He was left "devastated" after he saw his cars had been stripped of their parts, including engines, doors and steering columns.
"I was promised two full restorations and that has just not happened, I just got empty promises," he said.
"I have known him for six years and he should not have done this to a friend, let alone anyone else."
Another friend of Mr Hanford, Will Taylor, said the experience makes him feel "depressed".
"It went in as a nice show car – polished, clean, shiny wheels," he said.
"There’s actually more rust on it now than when it went in.
Mr Taylor, who befriended Mr Handford through a Mini club, added: "I considered us quite close friends – obviously friends shouldn’t do this to each other."
Beverley Hulme, who said her family has lost £7,000 on a Mini which has been in her family for more than 40 years, said she began looking at "quite scary" reviews after Mr Handford stopped replying to her emails.
Derbyshire Police has confirmed it is investigating.