Jarrow driver tried to fool police with 'bizarre' registration plate trick, but got caught in South Shields

A driver found himself in the alphabet soup when he altered a digit of his car number plate to try and avoid police detection.

Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 6:00 am
The court heard it was a 'bizarre' case
The court heard it was a 'bizarre' case

Phillip Waggott, 54, of Fellgate Avenue, Jarrow, added black tape to the ‘L’ of his Vauxhall Vectra’s YL57 HYO registration number, changing it to a ‘U’.

He did so to avoid police recognition cameras while he drove his motor, which did not have insurance, for a new MOT certificate, a court heard.

But he was spotted by officers on patrol in Boldon Lane, South Shields, on Friday, October 9, and pulled over, magistrates in South Tyneside were told.

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Prosecutor Leanne Duffy said the one-off scam by previously lawful Waggott was quickly revealed during a roadside computer database check.

Waggott, who is of previous good character, could have been jailed for up to two years for the motoring fraud.

Instead, he escaped with six points on his licence and a £120 fine, along with £85 court costs and a £34 victim surcharge.

“An officer witnessed the defendant driving a Vauxhall Vectra,” Ms Duffy told the hearing.

"Inquiries confirmed that the defendant didn’t have insurance in place, nor a valid MOT.

“The number plates had been altered with black tape to read ‘U’. He fully admitted the offence and is a man of good character.”

Paul McAlindon, defending, told magistrates: “You are dealing with offences where he has entered guilty pleas at the first opportunity.

“The prosecution version of events is fully accepted. It’s an unusual offence, one that’s not really got an explanation from conversations with Mr Waggott.

“The Vectra is his. He has insurance for another car. He intended to get the Vectra an MOT and get it back on the road.

“What he should have done was put the Vectra on the insurance and drive for the MOT.

“He altered the registration number by just one place. He didn’t want to get stopped through the NPR system. It’s just a bizarre, bizarre set of circumstances.”

Waggott pleaded guilty to fraudulently altering a registration mark, driving without insurance and driving without a valid test certificate.

His fine, costs and points apply to the no insurance charge, and there was no separate penalty for the other offences.

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