Motorists who break the law are being reminded of their responsibility to be honest – or risk receiving a criminal record, a hefty fine or even a prison sentence.
The warning follows another two recent convictions for speeding offences which could have been avoided had the defendants come clean earlier on.
By lying about the circumstances, they committed an offence of perverting the course of justice, which carries a maximum term of life imprisonment.
On two separate occasions in October and November, taxi driver Kimarley Peart falsely nominated another driver as being responsible for speeding offences he committed. He was caught travelling at 48mph in a 40mph zone on the first occasion, and 53mph in a 40mph zone on the second occasion.
The 27-year-old, of Galahad Road, Bromley, London, continually denied the offences but eventually pleaded guilty at Lewes Crown Court on Thursday 13 June.
He was sentenced to 14 months’ imprisonment, suspended for 24 months, and ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work. He was also required to pay £500 costs and a £140 victim surcharge.
In December 2017, company director Andrew Blades activated a speed camera on the A27 at Shoreham. He also falsely nominated another driver as being responsible.
The 47-year-old, of The Ruffitts, Croydon, Surrey, stuck to his fabricated explanation but was found guilty of perverting the course of justice following a three-day trial at Lewes Crown Court, which concluded on Thursday 20 June.
He was sentenced to five months’ imprisonment, suspended for 24 months, and ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work. He was also required to pay £300 costs.
The convictions fall under Operation Pinocchio, which was launched by Sussex Police in 2016 with the following aims:
To improve safety on Sussex’s roads by tracing and prosecuting offenders who provide false information in an attempt to avoid prosecution;
And to prevent law-abiding motorists, who have been badly advised, from committing serious criminal offences by attempting to avoid speeding or red light offences.
Chris Raynor, of the Sussex Police Camera and Ticket Process Team, said: “This operation demonstrates that no matter how long it takes, we are determined to bring to justice those who break the law and put other road users’ lives at risk.
“What may appear to be a fairly low-level offence to some, is actually one which carries a maximum term of life imprisonment. People should be aware that a conviction for this offence comes with a criminal record which could affect future employment opportunities, travel to foreign countries such as America and Australia, and other aspects of your life.”