A motorist who tried to trick his way out of driving convictions has been given a fine of almost £5,000 after being caught in the act.
Gary Chapman’s Volkswagen Passat was recorded by a speed camera in Battle and then going through a red light in Worthing on consecutive days.
The 52-year-old claimed he had not been in the area on those days and his number plate must have been cloned – something he said had happened to him previously when he was driving in London and Buckinghamshire.
But after an investigation lasting more than a year, Chapman was shown proof that he was lying and admitted what he had done.
Chapman, of Gunters Lane, Bexhill, pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice when he appeared at Lewes Crown Court on June 19.
He was given a six-month suspended prison sentence, told to do 200 hours of community service and ordered to pay a £3,500 fine, £1,200 costs and an £80 victim surcharge.
The first offence happened at 1.05pm on September 21, 2013, when Chapman’s Volkswagen was photographed going passed a 30mph speed camera at 43mph on the A271 North Trade Road in Battle.
The next day the same car activated a red light camera at 7.50am on the A27 at Lyons Farm in Worthing.
Chapman was sent notices by Sussex Police’s central ticket and summons unit but repeatedly claimed he had not been in the area at the time.
He went to the expense of ordering new number plates that looked different to his previous ones and fitted them to his vehicle to try to convince the ticket unit he was the victim of cloning.
What Chapman did not realise was that police were checking cameras and databases to test his story.
Traffic cameras confirmed Chapman’s car had been in the area.
Mobile phone records showed Chapman’s phone had been at both Battle and Worthing when the offences were committed and that he had used his bank cards nearby to buy fuel.
After he was arrested and interviewed, Chapman admitted he had been driving the car when it was caught by the cameras, adding he had changed the number plates to avoid the fine.
Detective Constable Nick O’Shaughnessy said: “Chapman wanted to avoid getting the six points for the driving offences as they would have taken him up to the 12-point limit and he could have been banned.
“Instead he has got a criminal record, a long stretch of community service to do and a big fine.
“Chapman dug a hole for himself that he couldn’t get out of.
“This case shows how trying to lie your way out of trouble can cost you far more than if you accept what you have done and take your punishment.”