New leaf overturns Bedfordshire village law

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A speeding motorist has successfully quashed his conviction thanks to an overgrown HEDGE.

Matthew White refused to take the penalty for driving at 38mph on the 30mph road into Westoning.

And he has advised hundreds of other drivers captured on the speed camera to launch a similar fight.

He produced evidence showing the hedgerow was so tall and bushy that the 30mph sign was mostly obscured.

“The speed camera was also hidden by the overgrowth, so I had no idea I was meant to slow down,” he claimed.

“I felt it was unfair to punish me when it was clearly the fault of whoever was responsible for trimming the hedge.”

Mr White, 44, was heading towards the motorway, and unfamiliar with village.

“One minute I was on a road where it was the national speed limit and then, as soon as I go round the corner, I found I was in a village. I slowed down, obviously, but not quickly enough.”

He said he did not see the 30mph marking in the road in time either.

When the penalty notice arrived at his St Albans home, Mr White revisited the scene and took photographs of the hedges.

He then put in a Freedom of Information request to Beds police asking for a monthly breakdown of drivers flashed by the Westoning camera.

“It showed that in July last year, when I was caught, there were 346 convictions. But in February , when there were no leaves on the hedge, there was only 84.

“That proved my point beautifully.”

Last week Mr White’s contested case finally went to Luton Magistrates Court.

He had a pre-case discussion with the Crown Prosecution Service representative and it was agreed no evidence be offered and the case be dropped.

“I was pleased that justice was done. I did not deserve those points,” said Mr White, who already had three points on his licence.

He has since discovered the hedge is on private land and is urging the owner 
to trim it.

He is also urging the other summertime drivers penalised in the same spot to appeal their sentence.

“If I can do it, so can others. We should not take this lying down,” he said.