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Van owner en route to John O'Groats fined over insurance confusion after being stopped by police at Berriedale


By Court Reporter

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The pair were on their way to John O'Groats when they were stopped by police.
The pair were on their way to John O'Groats when they were stopped by police.

Two men’s long-distance holiday trip to John O’Groats ran into trouble after police checked their van’s documents at Berriedale.

It resulted in Sunderland man Marcus Smith being charged with allowing his mate, Patrick Harle, to drive without insurance.

The pair shouldn’t have embarked on the 737-mile trip, in any case, because of the lockdown, Wick Sheriff Court heard on Thursday.

Smith (25), of Thompson Road, Southwick, pleaded guilty by letter and was fined £300. He also incurred six penalty points.

Sheriff Andrew Berry was told that the vehicle was stopped by the police on the A9, at Berriedale, on June 12, last year – 57 miles short of its destination.

Fiscal David Barclay explained that the van was normally used for commercial purposes and had insurance cover in that respect.

However, there was no cover in place for a pleasure trip, leaving Smith, the van owner, open to the criminal charge.

Mr Barclay commented: “The accused maybe should have known better and given the matter further thought.”

The fiscal added that the causing or permitting offences didn’t often come before the court.

Sheriff Berry took into account the fact that Smith was a first offender but made the point: “The pair shouldn’t have been in Scotland at all because of the pandemic lockdown.”



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