3/18/2005UK: Cloned Cars Create Camera Victims
Innocent motorists victimized by speed camera citations because of the use of fake license plates.
Stephen Marsden, a 32-year-old UK resident was accused by a camera of speeding and implicated in a hit and run accident within the space of a week. A speed camera photo showed the same model Opel Astra in the same color with the same license plate as his own doing 40 MPH in a 30 MPH zone -- except it wasn't Marsden's car.
The hit and run incident was easily cleared, as human witnesses from the crash testified that Marsden was not the driver. To fight the speed camera, however, he was forced to hire an attorney. Police refused to drop charges even after Marsden pointed out distinct differences between his car and the one in the speed camera photo.
The car in the photo was "cloned" -- a stolen vehicle with the license plate and all the necessary paperwork to make it appear legitimate. Marsden's attorney estimates that there are 10,000 such vehicles on UK roads, and local police have issued warnings to potential car buyers to steer clear of suspicious used vehicles.
The Manchester City Magistrates' Court finally cleared Marsden of the speeding charge.
"But GMP just dragged their feet. I could have taken the three points on my licence and the fine but I knew I was right. It's embarrassing that it went to court, really." [Marsden said]Source: Crooks cloned my car (St Helens Star (UK), 3/18/2005)
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