Bike dealer accused of stealing from customers

Court hears how motorcycle dealer used money from sales of customers' bikes to help his struggling business

A MOTORCYCLE dealer accused of stealing motorbikes, along with thousands of pounds from his customers, has told a court of his financial difficulties.

Robert Hill, 62, is said to have committed the offences to keep his struggling business afloat. Hill, who ran Bob Hill's Motorcycles in Cowbridge, Hertford, denies 18 offences of theft.

In the witness box at St Albans Crown Court, Hill told the jury how he had opened his shop in Cowbridge, Hertford, in 1973.

Hill told the court he began to experience business problems and had to remortgage his home and the business to raise funds. He said it was in 2004 that he moved his business account to another bank because of the better terms that they were offering. But he said in the spring of 2004, having gone to the new bank, there was a breakdown in communications with staff there and it resulted in a direct debit payment he thought would go to Ducati being bounced.

As a result, he said he lost the Ducati franchise.

Later that summer when a direct debit payment again bounced, this time to Suzuki, he said they also ended his dealership agreement.
Hill said that, in addition, the new bank also began charging him thousands of pounds in "excess fees." The court went on to hear how Hill was now bankrupt and had lost his business.

Hill is accused of selling several customers' bikes and using the cash to alleviate his dire financial position.

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Accused bike dealer story