'Nothing about it would make it apparent it's a police car' - Man fined for fitting sirens to car
PUBLISHED: 07:26 15 January 2019 | UPDATED: 13:56 01 April 2019
A King's Lynn driver has been fined for fitting sirens, similar to that on emergency vehicles, in the grille of his girlfriend's Ford Mondeo.
Clive Eglen, 52, ended up with a court bill of £430 over the sirens on his car, which is not an emergency vehicle.
On Monday, January 14, King’s Lynn Magistrates’ Court was shown photos of the dark green 51-plate Mondeo with black and white chequered transfers on its sides and rear side windows.
The court heard there was also an armband marked ‘RAF police’ behind a sun visor and a peaked cap on the rear parcel shelf.
Eglen, of Woodwark Avenue in King’s Lynn, was stopped in the vehicle on John Kennedy Road in the town by police at 4.30pm on April 26 last year.
Prosecutor Stacie Cossey told magistrates that, in police interview, Eglen said he used the car in connection with his work as a security officer.
He was originally charged with impersonating a police constable, which he denied at a hearing last July. An alternative charge of using a vehicle with a siren fitted was laid this week, to which he pleaded guilty.
In mitigation, Hugh Cauthery said that it was not an offence “of a serious character”.
Eglen had bought the car about three years ago for £400.
“He found these blue lights on eBay and he believed he could use them on private land,” said Mr Cauthery. “Unfortunately he didn’t realise it was an offence to have them fitted to a vehicle. I suspect that has not got through to a number of mainly young motorists up and down the country who tend to have them.
“He used the car informally for security purposes and it was used solely for that purpose on private land.”
The court heard that Eglen was regularly attending car boot sales at Stickney, near Boston in Lincolnshire, and the organiser was experiencing “a certain amount of trouble from the travelling community”.
“He parked this car on private land in such a way as to give miscreants the impression of it being a security vehicle,” said Mr Cauthery.
The owner of King’s Lynn Storage also asked for a similar arrangement, which Eglen carried out between October 2017 and March 2018, the court heard.
“It was never used on a public road with flashing lights,” said Mr Cauthery, who added that nowhere on the vehicle did it say ‘police’.
“Nothing about the car would make it apparent that it’s a police car, other than possibly the exception of the blue lights,” he added. “I don’t think any sensible person would think it a police car. I have never seen a 17-year-old police car in Norfolk. They’re usually brand new BMWs, or not far off.”
Mr Cauthery said Eglen had been stopped a number of times by police but no concerns had been raised about the lights before this instance last year. The car had been impounded since then but magistrates allowed it to be released while warning Eglen to remove the lights and anything else which “might make people think it’s a police car”.
Eglen was fined £300 and ordered to pay £100 costs and £30 victim surcharge.
He told the court: “I apologise. I truthfully didn’t know it was illegal to have blue lights on the car even though it wasn’t used [on the road with them illuminated].”
- An earlier version of this article referred to a charge relating to warning beacons fitted to the car, however the court has clarified there was no such charge.