Driver turned his car into a fake ambulance and sped through rush hour Tyne Tunnel traffic

A careless driver who turned his car into a fake ambulance has appeared in court for speeding through rush hour traffic.

Wednesday, 6th July 2016, 12:14 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 7:59 pm
(L-R): A/Sgt Alan Keenleyside, Northumbria Police, Alan Gallagher, North East Ambulance Service, Stu Sutton, Tyne Tunnels Operations Manager, and Sgt Dave Clement, Northumbria Police.

Shaun Scandle, 31, was handed a fine of more than £1,000 and nine points on his licence when he appeared at North Shields Magistrates Court following the incident on September 9.

Police were called by staff at the Tyne Tunnel who were concerned at the speed the vehicle, complete with a siren and blue flashing lights, was travelling through the rush hour traffic.

Officers made enquiries with the North East Ambulance Service who said they had no record of one of their vehicles being in the area at the time.

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An investigation was launched and, following close partnership work between the police, NEAS and tunnel operator TT2 Limited, Scandle was identified as the driver.

Officers visited Scandle and found his white Renault Megane had been covered in livery to make it look like a rapid response vehicle.

They also discovered he ran a business called Hadrian Medical Services offering first aid at events across the North East for which he used the vehicle.

On this occasion he had been providing first aid for the Tour of Britain cycle race and had been travelling to Blyth to attend a medical incident he had been called to.

Scandle, of Priestpopple, Hexham, was summonsed to court for careless driving and on Friday, June 24, he changed his plea to guilty to escape a lengthy driving ban.

The judge sitting on the case also approved an application by Northumbria Police to destroy the equipment he used to create his fake ambulance.

Acting Sgt Alan Keenleyside, of the Operations Department, said: "This may seem like a bizarre story, but the reality is Mr Scandle was putting lives at risk through his behaviour on the road.

"Those working in the emergency services receive specialist training to drive our response vehicles and the public should not try and take that responsibility into their own hands.

"Mr Scandle is lucky that he did not receive a driving ban but hopefully he will think twice about his behaviour on the roads following his sentence at court.

"The emergency services do an incredibly difficult job to protect everyone in this region. It is something we are proud to do and those in our communities should leave it to the professionals."

Stuart Sutton, Operations Manager at TT2 Limited, said: "I’d like to praise Northumbria Police and the North East Ambulance Service for their partnership working with TT2. This is an example of how collaboration has led to positive action to keep Tyne Tunnels' customers safe."

Northumbria Police have been running Operation Dragoon since summer 2014 which has had a huge impact on making the region's roads a safer place.

They have secured hundreds of convictions after targetting dangerous drivers in the North East by gathering intelligence from our local communities.

If you suspect anyone of breaching the rules of the road then contact the team by calling 101.