Young driver il­le­gally used flash­ing blue lights ‘for pro­tec­tion’

Stockport Express - - Front Page - CHRIS SLATER

AYOUNG driver who bought blue flash­ing lights from the in­ter­net and drove around with them on his car has been hauled into court.

An­drew Nor­ris, who said he com­mutes to Chea­dle ev­ery day for work, claimed he needed the lights as ‘pro­tec­tion’ af­ter he was at­tacked in 2017.

But he was ar­rested and pros­e­cuted for the un­usual of­fence of us­ing ‘a warn­ing bea­con’ il­le­gally on a car. A more se­ri­ous charge of im­per­son­at­ing a po­lice of­fi­cer was dropped.

The bizarre in­ci­dent un­folded when a woman saw a Vaux­hall In­signia ap­proach­ing from be­hind her with blue flash­ing lights on Cow Lane in Sale at around 10.30pm on June 17 last year, a court was told.

She im­me­di­ately pulled over to al­low it to pass, but when it pulled along­side her she saw the car was full of ‘non-uni­formed’ men.

The wit­ness then con­tacted po­lice to re­port it as she thought it was ‘strange,’ prose­cu­tors said.

Nor­ris was then traced to his home in Chor­ley by the reg­is­tra­tion plate on the Vaux­hall.

He ini­tially told of­fi­cers he had a set of blue lights, but claimed he had not yet used them that evening.

Nor­ris, 22, who rep­re­sented him­self at the hear­ing at Manch­ester Mag­is­trates’ Court, said he bought them for ‘pro­tec­tion’ af­ter be­ing vi­o­lently at­tacked in 2017.

But the law states only those ve­hi­cles classed as emer­gency ve­hi­cles can use blue flash­ing lights and po­lice, am­bu­lance or fire ser­vice ve­hi­cles can use sirens.

In what he ad­mit­ted was a ‘stupid mis­take,’ Nor­ris told the court he bought the lights, which are charged in the ci­garette lighter of the car and at­tached to the wind­screen with a sucker, from the in­ter­net as a way of feel­ing safer.

He said: “I have never been in trou­ble be­fore. It was just a stupid mis­take.

“I was at­tacked in 2017 and ever since then I have strug­gled if some­one pulls up be­hind me or slows down in front of me. “And I just pan­icked. “Be­cause they (those be­hind the al­leged pre­vi­ous at­tack) got away with it I thought it might hap­pen again and made the stupid mis­take of pur­chas­ing these lights.”

How­ever District Judge Sam Goozee said: “Why on earth did you feel you needed to en­gage these lights when there were other peo­ple in the ve­hi­cle with you?”

Nor­ris, of Chor­ley, pleaded guilty to an un­usual charge of ‘us­ing a ve­hi­cle where warn­ing bea­cons were be­ing used in a pro­hib­ited man­ner’ and a sec­ond of­fence of driv­ing with­out in­sur­ance.

District Judge Goozee told Nor­ris that he was ‘very lucky’ a third (and more se­ri­ous charge) of im­per­son­at­ing a po­lice of­fi­cer was not pur­sued by the Crown Pros­e­cu­tion Ser­vice.

He said: “This is a se­ri­ous of­fence which in my view war­rants dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion.

“I do give you credit for your early guilty plea.

“But this is a se­ri­ous sit­u­a­tion where you are us­ing a ve­hi­cle with blue lights which means it is not in­sured.

“You are very lucky the CPS are not pro­ceed­ing with the charge of im­per­son­at­ing a po­lice of­fi­cer and that you are only be­ing dealt with for the of­fences you have con­victed of to­day.”

Nor­ris was banned from driv­ing for 56 days and fined £400.

●●An­drew Nor­ris was fined £400

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