Image: John Brightley Image: John Brightley

The number of second-hand cars sold in the UK rose to a new record for a six month period in the first half of 2016, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT).

The trade body said 4.18 million second-hand vehicles were sold in the six months. It is the first time sales have ever risen above four million, and represents an 8% rise on the first half of 2015.

The SMMT said it comes as a result of the strong performance seen by new car sales in recent years. In July, it also revealed a record six months for new car sales. The most popular second-hand cars were those between one and three years old, suggesting second-hand sales are riding the wave of higher new sales.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, said: "The UK's used car market is at its strongest ever.

"The growth in the used car market has reflected the record demand for new cars in recent years, but future growth in high-cost purchases will depend on stable consumer and business confidence."

But the increase in second-hand car sales is 3% more than the rise seen in new car sales in that period. New car sales are typically seen as a good indicator of general economic performance, showing consumers' ability to make large purchases.