THE owner of a high-performance car brokers has been jailed for almost five years for lying to customers about whether their cars had been sold and leaving them as much as £500,000 out of pocket.

Shan Fiaz operated SK Performance Cars, in Bridgeman Street, Great Lever, and at first ran it as a legitimate business.

However, when he fell into financial difficulties he began conning customers so that he could pay back creditors, but also continued to pay himself a substantial wage.

Fiaz, or one of his employees, would contact people when they advertised their vehicles on websites such as Auto Trader.

SK Performance would sell the cars on behalf of customers and take some of the profit.

However, between February, 2014 and November, 2015, Fiaz conned clients by selling their cars on and lying to them, telling them that they had not been sold, they had people interested in them or sales had fallen through at the last minute. Then clients would receive none of the money.

On one occasion a salesman told a customer that he was sitting on the bonnet of his car in the showroom when it had in fact already been sold.

Bolton Crown Court heard yesterday how a total of 28 cars were sold by Fiaz during that time when people were not paid money they were owed.

Fiaz sold cars including a Mercedes CLK 500, a Nissan GTR, a Range Rover Vogue and a Porsche Cayenne when people lost out on money

In total, people were left at least £300,000 out of pocket by Fiaz but the figure could have been as high as £500,000, prosecutor Jaime Hamilton said.

Some people had their cars returned to them after police tracked them down, but this then left the people who had bought them from SK Performance without the money they had paid out.

SK Performance was wound up in 2015 and Fiaz, age 28, of Wentworth Avenue in Whitefield, was declared bankrupt because of money he owed to creditors.

Some had been left needing to take out loans against their mortgage and one victim was selling the car because they were expecting a baby.

The court heard while he was not paying people money for the vehicles between June, 2014 and October, 2015, Fiaz paid himself £215,350 as a salary.

Last year £30,000 was handed to a solicitor by Fiaz's uncle to be used to pay victims back.

Michael Wolkind QC, defending Fiaz, said that over the coming months that total could rise to £200,000 by money set to be raised by his uncle and a friend.

He asked for the sentence to be deferred to give them the chance to do this and pay some of the victims back, but Judge Graeme Smith rejected the plea, saying there was nothing to stop them paying people back while Fiaz was in prison.

The judge said: "You had the use of their money and they did not know you had the use of their money.

"Customers were told anything they needed to be told to prevent them from realising their cars had been sold and you were using the money."

Fiaz was sentenced to 56 months in prison for conspiracy to commit fraud and given a two-month sentence to be served concurrently for sending a malicious communication.

The court heard how Shah called a man who had been responsible for coming to take cars from SK Performance when the business was closed down.

He told him that he had friends who could have him killed and that he could have his car set on fire.