South Shields jet skier fined after breaking River Tyne speed limit

A South Shields jet skier made waves by breaking the speed limit on the Tyne, a court heard.

Dale Sutherland, 30, is estimated to have accelerated to over three times the 6 knots limit before being brought to a stop by river police.

Sutherland, of Bunyan Avenue, Biddick Hall, was going so fast the front of his borrowed machine rose from the water, signifying significant pace

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It allowed officers to estimate his speed at 20 knots as he passed Newcastle’s Quayside at around 3.15pm on Thursday, September 7.

The case was heard at South Tyneside Magistrates Court.The case was heard at South Tyneside Magistrates Court.
The case was heard at South Tyneside Magistrates Court.

At South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court, the hair and beauty salon boss admitted to traveling at a more leisurely seven knots.

But Tristan Meears-White, prosecuting on behalf of the Port of Tyne, said Sutherland confessed at the scene to going at 10 knots.

He added: “The Port of Tyne is responsible for the safety of vessels using the river Tyne, commercial and leisure.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Three PCs were made aware from radio of two males identified as making a disturbance in excess of the limit in the area of the Quayside.”

Mr Meears-White said the officers were standing on the riverbank when they spotted Sutherland zooming past on the water.

He said: “It was a speed in excess of six knots. They couldn’t give an exact speed, but PC Harvey gave an estimate of about 20 knots, which is about 23mph.

“They went onto the water and stopped Mr Sutherland. He only commented to say he thought the limit was 10 knots.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Sutherland initially pleaded not guilty to a charge of traveling at a speed of greater than six knots, in breach of Port of Tyne byelaws.

But at a second court hearing, he changed his plea to guilty, by which time the costs of bringing the private prosecution had risen to £4,000.

Defending himself, Sutherland denied telling police at the scene he had been traveling at 10 knots.

He added: “I can’t afford for this to go on. I’m guilty. I’ll say I was doing seven knots.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Magistrates fined Sutherland £135 and ordered him to pay £500 costs and a £34 victim surcharge – and warned him not to speed again.