‘I was at work so how could I have been speeding?’ claims councillor

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A market porter has vowed to appeal his speeding conviction after claiming travellers, who he alleges have threatened to kill him in the past, cloned his car.

Rowland Stanford, 70, sits on Whipsnade Parish Council and also works each Tuesday and Saturday manning the barrier at Leighton Buzzard market. In the past, he has complained of death threats from travellers trying to move their vehicles on to the High Street.

On December 15 last year, his car was spotted by speed cameras at the A505 in Stanbridge driving at 61mph against the speed limit of 50mph.

But Mr Stanford maintained he couldn’t have been speeding as he was hard at work at the town market at the time.

He subsequently claimed that travellers cloned his car.

Mr Stanford said: “I find it difficult to understand why travellers are above the law. They do exactly as they please, disregard all laws ... it’s obvious what has happened.

“Every Saturday and Tuesday I work from 7am until 6:30pm in a bright red uniform with fluorescent strips, how could I be anywhere else.”

Mr Stanford appeared at Luton Magistrates Court on Friday to answer charges of speeding and failing to 
provide identification of a driver as required.

Prosecutor Dominic Woollard said: “On December 15 at 1.03pm the defendent was travelling in a Ford Focus on the A505. The speed limit is 50mph and the vehicle was travelling at 61mph. As a result of that speed infringement a notice of prosecution was sent out on December 18.

“On May 22, the issue of potential cloning was raised. He was written to by the prosecuting authority requesting photos of his car.”

The court then heard that Mr Stanford had failed to provide the pictures. Mr Wollard added: “The Crown Prosecution Service don’t accept that the vehicle had been cloned.”

In addition to his work on the market, Mr Stanford also volunteers at Astral Park Community Centre. Representing himself, he told the court: “I work in Leighton Buzzard market every Tuesday and Saturday.

“In the course of my job I’m at the barriers at the top of the high street. I have ever such a lot of trouble with travellers, threatening to kill me and spitting in my face.”

When asked why he hadn’t submitted pictures of his car when requested, he insisted he had been unable to do so as the vehicle was with his son at the time.

In an exchange, Mr Wollard said: “It’s quite a serious matter if you’re suggesting they’ve cloned your vehicle?”

Mr Stanford responded: “That’s a minor thing compared to what they’ve threatened to do to me. They threatened to kill me.”

Mr Woollard said: “So you haven’t had letters about speeding in Newcastle? Your [cloned] car is being driven by untoward people. It has been driven in the locality of where you were, they’ve sped once and not committed any other offence?”

Mr Stanford answered: “It’s what they do.”

Mr Woollard said: “This offence happens on December 15 and there have been no other issues with your licence plate since then? They’ve committed no further offences with a car that can’t be traced back to them?”

Mr Stanford responded: “They threatened to kill me once. And the person that threatened to kill me was a woman.”

The offence took place at 1.03pm and Mr Stanford explained this was outside of his lunchbreak from 12.30pm to 1pm.

Regarding the failure to provide pictures, Mr Woollard told him: “You purposefully don’t supply these pictures because you know perfectly well that a picture of your car will look exactly like the pictures on the speed camera.”

This was denied by Mr Stanford.

After deliberating for some time, the bench found Mr Stanford guilty of both charges.

Chairman of the bench John Pickersgill said: “Having listened to everything that’s been said and looked at the photographic evidence, we find you guilty of both of these offences.”

For failing to provide the identification of the driver, he given six points with an additional three points for speeding, and costs of £547 in total.

After the hearing, Mr Stanford vowed to appeal against the decision. He said: “They didn’t prove anything. It just seems that they say you’re guilty, so you’re guilty.

“I shall be appealing.”