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Driver is cleared of crossing double white lines
3:13pm Thursday 17th October 2013 in News
A BMW driver has been cleared by magistrates of crossing double white lines on the outskirts of Gargrave while passing two other cars.
Leon Szpitter, 32, was said to have contravened line markings while overtaking a Ford Focus and a Renault Twingo on the A65.
He was also charged with driving his BMW M5 during the early evening of June 7 when his driving licence had been declared invalid.
Szpitter, who denied both offences, was found not guilty of failing to comply with road markings, but guilty of driving otherwise in accordance with a licence following Monday’s trial at Skipton Magistrates’ Court.
PC Stephen Wood told the court how he had been stationed in an unmarked BMW police car in Gargrave when he had started following Szpitter because he had been travelling too close to the car in front. He estimated Szpitter had been just two metres behind the other car and that his intention was to stop him and advise him of the “two second rule”.
But as they approached the Anchor Pub on the outskirts of the village, he had seen the BMW on the other side of the road passing both the Focus and the Twingo.
PC Wood, who captured the manoeuvre on his in-car camera, said the BMW had been over the double white lines when he was within sight and he then saw it return to the correct side of the road.
He turned on his emergency blue lights, followed Szpitter for some distance and eventually caused him to stop close to the entrance of Coniston Hotel, Coniston Cold.
But Szpitter, of Kendal Road, Hellifield, defending himself, said he travelled the road regularly and had not crossed the double white line.
He did not deny overtaking, but said he had overtaken the first car before the start of the double white lines and the second after it had indicated to turn off the road.
He added that both cars had been moving very slowly as they had appeared to be looking for an address.
Szpitter claimed there had been confusion over his licence after it had been returned to him by the DVLA because he had not signed an application to change his address.
Magistrates said they found both the officer and Szpitter to have given credible evidence, but that they could not be entirely sure that Szpitter had crossed double white lines as it had not been clear on the video evidence.
He was, however, fined £125 with costs of £100 and a victims surcharge of £20 for driving otherwise in accordance with a licence.