Driving ban for hi-tech speed gun dodger from Caister

In a landmark court ruling, magistrates yesterday handed down a 30-day driving ban to a Norfolk motorist caught using a laser jamming device to disable police speed guns.

Jamie Shreeve, 21, of Covent Garden Road, Caister, is only the second driver in Norfolk to be successfully prosecuted for using such a device - and he is the first in the county to be given a driving ban for it.

The result of the Great Yarmouth court hearing was welcomed by two Acle road traffic police officers who have been spearheading a clampdown on the high-tech speeders.

Sgt Geoff Bowers and PC Chris Harris only became aware of the gadgets - fixed to the outside of cars and wired up under the dashboard with an on-off switch - when they stopped a turbo-charged Porsche 911 on the A47 in March.

They have since come across dozens of similar devices, costing up to �500 and marketed on the internet as parking sensors, and at least 10 other drivers are waiting to come to court following Shreeve.

Sgt Bowers said: 'This is the first case in Norfolk in which a motorist has been banned from driving for using a laser jamming device.

I'm extremely pleased with this result which shows that the courts are taking these offences seriously.

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'People using laser jamming devices have no regard for speed limits and therefore put themselves and other road users in danger.

'I hope this sentence acts as a warning to other drivers considering fitting such devices to their vehicles.'

Shreeve, an offshore worker, admitted the willful obstruction of a police officer, and the prosecution agreed to drop a second charge of exceeding the 70mph speed limit.

Gary Mayle, prosecuting, said Sgt Bowers was conducting speed checks from the bridge over the A47 at Acle on October 2 when he noticed a black Vauxhall Astra rapidly making ground on other vehicles and appearing to be travelling at over 70mph.

However, when he pointed his speed gun at the car it failed to supply a speed reading.

He radioed to officers to stop the Astra at the Acle roundabout and on examining the car they discovered the sensor on the front and the other elements of the laser jammer, including the wiring under the dashboard and the on-off switch inside.

The officers seized the vehicle and removed the laser jammer.

In interview, Shreeve said he had paid �200 for the device and fitted it himself.

He said he had done it to safeguard his job as his company did not tolerate employees being prosecuted for speeding.

Mr Mayle asked magistrates to consider imposing a discretionary driving ban.

Annette Hall, mitigating, said: 'This device is not illegal to sell and not illegal to purchase and that is clearly an area that needs to be looked at.'

She said Shreeve had gone to a reputable outlet intending just to buy a sensor to help him park, but perhaps a reflection of his age and maturity, had come away with a device that was also a laser jammer.

She said: 'There are numerous devices like these to be found on the internet that can be set up as a parking sensor as well.

'He accepts that because he had it switched on he was willfuly obstructing the police officer.'

Fining Shreeve �100 with �85 costs in addition to the ban, magistrates said it was a 'premeditated deliberate action to avoid detection for speeding'.