Skip to main content

This blog post was published under the 2015-2024 Conservative Administration

MOT fraud, a risk to road safety

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Enforcement, Features, Vehicle testing

The MOT test checks that your vehicle meets road safety and environmental standards.

MOTs are carried out by 60,000 privately employed MOT testers carrying out tests in around 23,000 testing stations in Great Britain. DVSA is responsible for regulating MOTs and their providers to ensure they are conducted to the correct standards.

Almost all the 30 million MOTs carried out annually are conducted to the appropriate standard.

For vehicles 3 or more years old, it is a roadworthiness safety net. While vehicles should be roadworthy all year round, the MOT test helps ensure your vehicle is not going to cause you, or other road users, harm.

Testament to the success of the test is how few mechanical issues lead to road accidents. Only 2% of road incidents are due to mechanical failings and we are proud of this proven tool that helps to keep Britain’s roads safe.

However, this hasn’t stopped people trying to cheat the system.

What’re we doing about it?

DVSA monitors the industry closely and acts on poor and fraudulent practice. This is through both proactive work and in response to reports from the public and official bodies.

Increasingly, we are discovering cases where vehicles aren’t even entering a garage but still being issued pass certificates. This is allowing potentially dangerous vehicles to be driving on Britain’s roads.

The latest technology and intelligence-based targeting allows us to track vehicle movements, meaning we know where vehicles are, and where they’re not. We can then compare this with MOT test data to ensure the right outcome

What’ve we found?

In 2021 to 2022 we saw 1324 total counts of MOT Fraud. 710 of those, were the most serious cases relating to dishonesty and negligence. To put this into perspective, in 2017 to 2018 there were less than half this figure (351). In these most serious cases, we’re able to use the full force of the law. In 2021 to 2022 we prosecuted 20 cases (involving 24 defendants) - a 900% increase from 2018 to 2019.

This may appear low in comparison to the total counts of fraud, but a number of individual cases may form part of a singular prosecution. It is these individuals we are targeting.

We can also ban people from testing. In 2021, we banned a total of 127 Authorised Examiners from running Vehicle Testing Stations, and 288 from the MOT scheme.

This included bans for 85 Authorised Examiner and 185 Tester cases relating to the most serious offences including dishonesty, and gross negligence.

Cases to prove a point

We investigated Thornton-Granville of Mitcham, following a complaint about an MOT conducted on a vehicle in a shocking state of disrepair by member of the public.

An inspection of the vehicle revealed 21 faults, including missing brake pads and missing anti-roll bar. Corrosion on the car was so severe that the security of the body to the chassis was reduced by more than 50%, critically endangering the driver in any impact scenario. This led to a DVSA investigation. When presented with DVSA’s evidence the tester admitted and subsequently pleaded guilty to issuing 152 fraudulent MOT pass certificates at City of London Magistrates Court in March.

He was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment for the charges, suspended for 2 years on the condition he completes 240 hours unpaid work within that period and ordered to pay a contribution towards prosecution costs of £5,000.

138 vehicle MOT certificates issued by Thornton-Granville were cancelled and removed. This meant vehicle owners needed to complete a valid MOT test before their vehicle could return to the road.

Elsewhere, in Hampshire, Paul Rafferty, of Havant was given a prison sentence of 36 weeks in Worthing Magistrates Court on 28 February 2022 following a DVSA investigation. The sentence was suspended for 12 months for 47 falsely issued MOT certificates over a 3-month period.

Rafferty had been issuing the certificates despite the vehicles never entering the two garages he worked at in Petersfield, between November 2020 and January 2021.

All the MOTs of the 47 potentially dangerous vehicles were cancelled. The owners were warned that their vehicles must pass a legitimate MOT before they could return to the road. Rafferty was also given the full 5-year term ban from MOT testing.

We also wrote advisory letters to the owners of a further 113 vehicles who had received MOT certificates from Rafferty.

If you believe an MOT test or centre is committing fraud you can report them.

A message of warning

These cases demonstrate we will not allow qualified testers who we entrust to carry out MOTs to abuse a system designed to keep the public safe for their own personal gain.

We are fortunate to have so many compliant, trustworthy, and honest garages who deliver the MOT safely. We want to ensure they are not unfairly disadvantaged by the greed and criminality of the dangerous few individuals seeking to dupe the system.

The MOT test is designed to keep you and others safe. Don’t risk road safety, don’t cheat the system, choose a valid MOT.




Sharing and comments

Share this page


  1. Comment by Marie Aitkenhead posted on

    This we all agree would be catastrophic.

  2. Comment by IAN PARKINSON posted on

    So sad that mot testers who are entrusted by there employers to carry out a
    professional and high standard mot take upon them selves to defraud the system for there own gain .They also put the garage in a position to lose the facility of testing and it also puts other employees at risk of losing there jobs also.

  3. Comment by Martin posted on

    Glad to see your picking the weeds from among the roses, Well done to you all on this, There only is one way to carry out a test The correct way

    • Replies to Martin>

      Comment by Marie Aitkenhead posted on

      Well said. Too many poor testers out there whilst us honest lot suffer causing customers to mistrust all garages.

  4. Comment by Mark Anthony Melling posted on

    Well done dvsa fraudulent MOTs is completely immoral and should be punished to the maximum penalty including actual prison sentence.

  5. Comment by Pete posted on

    As a contract MOT tester I can say that unfortunately this type of practice is the tip of the iceberg, I have worked in many testing stations that are professional, conscientious and above board as well as many testing stations that have poor or non existent practices. And on many occasions they have attempted to pressure me into doing something that goes against my principles and professional standards so I agree with an earlier comment to give custodial sentences for this practice (and actual prison time not suspended sentences).
    We need to raise the standard and ensure consistency & unfortunately that looks like tighten oversight and possibly ANPR cameras in testing stations.

  6. Comment by Mike lehane posted on

    Can’t believe the Ba is only 5 years and not a life time ban.

  7. Comment by Dave frankish posted on

    It is appalling that there are testers willing to put the public’s safety at risk for financial gain.
    We train many years to have the qualifications and skills to do our job in a professional manner but unfortunately the minority give the rest of us a bad name.
    Great news that the DVSA are working to combat these people that are giving the trade a bad name.

  8. Comment by Phil Bridgen posted on

    I think you need to look at testers issuing fraudulent list of unnecessary work required on perfectly good vehicles in order to get the work. I am aware that some staff in test stations are required to recommend £2000 of unnecessary work as part of their contract of employment per week. The issue is that this all appears on test certificates as advisory’s so a record is kept for work not required on the vehicle history. I’m a retired DVSA VSA.

  9. Comment by Colin Hughes posted on

    This makes sad reading. Equally it is reassuring to known that those offenders have been rightly punished. I put absolute trust in the garage that I and all my family use.
    No one enjoys getting a list of faults given to them, but weigh that up against one of your own dying due to one of these idiots.

  10. Comment by Ken Mcintosh posted on

    When blatant misuse of a position of trust like an mot tester is found out they should be banned for life also they should be finned heavily.
    It’s human nature to know when you are doing something wrong. ie cheating

  11. Comment by peter mcdonough posted on

    Very good well done .

  12. Comment by John Griffiths posted on

    It’s very sad to read these cases of fraud most MOT garages in the UK make an honest living but I really can’t understand why any MOT tester would think this acceptable, it’s a real shame

  13. Comment by Steve Cane posted on

    Cannot believe that this practice is still going on.

  14. Comment by Paul posted on

    Agree entirely. Why do a job ensuring public safety if you have no concern for the family and children's safety.
    Mot test is just an annual basic safety inspection.
    At £1 per week average. Can't understand why it seems expensive to some.
    Garages have overheads and £54 for a safety inspection and certification for 12 months seems very reasonable to me compared to road tax, insurance and fuel costs.
    Garages have to maintain and pay for calibration of equipment.
    Also ensure internet connectivity and
    Purchase then maintain all equipment necessary for testing.
    All consumable purchases I.e printer inks and paper etc also have to be borne by the testing station.
    There is nothing supplied by government funding but most customers seem to believe not stations are subsidiaries of gov.UK

    • Replies to Paul>

      Comment by Marie Aitkenhead posted on

      Couldnt have put it better. Well done.

    • Replies to Paul>

      Comment by Paul Behennah Behennah posted on

      well said been this price for ever

  15. Comment by mark posted on

    we need cameras in the stations know to make it harder for this too carry on most testers are honest they do make mistakes but everybody is human but this too stamp out dishonest testers that make the scheme look dodgy

  16. Comment by trev thomas posted on

    Could not agree more as the MOT test should be a safe thing as to when you buy a vehicle .

    • Replies to trev thomas>

      Comment by Mark posted on

      Yeah but just remember and MOT is only at the time of test.
      it’s not gonna say that a vehicle it’s gonna be good for the next 12 months

  17. Comment by Colin shea posted on

    That’s frightening can’t believe people are putting peoples lives at risk for what a hundred pound or whatever the greedy scum bags can get.they should be banned from testing for life they obviously have no conscience or morals. It’s people like them that give us honest and trustworthy testers a bad name. I’m totally with dvsa on this we need to work together and get rid of the corrupt testers

  18. Comment by ALEXANDER BRYAN KEAN posted on

    Comforting to all road users that DVSA are on the ball, well done lads and lassies! keep the cowboys to the movies.

  19. Comment by Jacey Robbins posted on

    Yes I agree strongly most of us mot testers are honest and keep to the standards set out by dvsa we are here to keep people safe out on the roads the public trust us with there lifes and this is why we are here to keep the high standards

  20. Comment by Roy Griffiths posted on

    Well's good to hear of the few bad ones being ironed out.

  21. Comment by thomas hehir posted on

    Send the dodgy MOT testers to prisons for at least 3 years that may put others off passing unroadworthy motors.

  22. Comment by Gary little posted on

    This is one reason introducing a government plan to carry out test every two years is utterly ridiculous and irresponsible,DVSA carry on your good work.

  23. Comment by P Brookes posted on

    Proactive could be better served by ensuring the Tester can be clearly identifiable such as a photo of that nominated tester conducting the test be available at the test site who actually conducted the test and not another person

  24. Comment by Neil Chapman posted on

    As a tester myself i believe if your going to do a job do it properly or don't do it at all. As we are given the responsibility & the trust of the general public to assist in keeping them safe on the roads.

  25. Comment by R Miles posted on

    Brilliant work / well done ! These people give the applied standards the majority of mots uphold a bad name They need stamping out ,again well done

  26. Comment by Ray miller posted on

    You need more incognito test vehicles with defects to be tested