Two mums narrowly avoid prison over driving penalty points scam when one was caught speeding

Two friends involved in a penalty points scam after one was caught speeding have come "perilously close" to getting locked up.
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Georgia Dingwall pretended she had been the driver of a car that was caught doing 67mph in a 50mph zone so she could help her friend Stephanie Simpson, who was really behind the wheel.

Newcastle Crown Court heard Simpson, who already had nine points on her licence, knew she would be banned if she told the truth and so offered her pal "cannabis or cash" to help.

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Prosecutor Rachel Glover told the court their plan worked and Dingwall received a £100 fine and the three points after falsely confessing she was the driver.

Newcastle Crown Court.Newcastle Crown Court.
Newcastle Crown Court.

But the court heard their illegal deal was exposed when police examined Simpson's phone, for an unrelated matter, and found damning texts about what they had done.

Prosecutor Rachel Glover told the court: "The offence came to light because an officer had cause to seize Simpson's phone in relation to other matters.

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"Upon examination of the phone, there was texts between the two where they were discussing the offence and how Simpson would be banned due to the points already on her licence."

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Miss Glover said Dingwall was offered "cannabis or cash" to take the points.

The court heard it was on November 29, 2020, that Simpson's car was clocked doing 67mph on the 50mph A184 Felling Bypass, in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear.

As the insured driver of the car, she got a notice of intended prosecution in January 2021.

She initially responded to it by saying a man had been driving at the time but when told by the fixed penalty unit that the driver had been female, she then nominated Dingwall, as the driver and she accepted the blame.

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Dingwall, of Dacre Street, South Shields, and Simpson, of Ravensworth Road, Gateshead, who are both 33, both admitted perverting the course of justice.

Simpson was sentenced to six months suspended for 12 months and Dingwall got four months suspended for 12 months.

Both were also given a rehabilitation activity requirement and Simpson was banned from driving for six months.

The court heard both women are mothers. Dingwall has never been in trouble before and Simpson has two previous, minor convictions on her record.

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Judge Robert Spragg said: "It's been said this type of behaviour strikes at the heart of the criminal justice system. You have come perilously close to immediate custody.

"The vast majority of people who commit this type of offence do go to immediate custody."

The court heard Simpson had "panicked" when she received the notice.

Robin Turton, defending, said Simpson has a history of health problems, has been the victim of domestic violence and threats and viewed her car as a "safety bubble".

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The court heard Dingwall does not have a driving licence and did not appreciate the seriousness of what she did.

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