|Motoring offences scam man Colin Lowndes jailed|
A man who masterminded a nationwide scam to help drivers escape motoring convictions has been jailed.
Colin Lowndes, 41, of Hattersley, Greater Manchester, helped more than 700 motorists avoid penalty points for speeding and other driving offences.
He admitted conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and 30 counts of fraud relating to a separate scam.
Lowndes, of Clough End Road, was jailed for seven years at Manchester Crown Court on Friday.
His accomplice and brother-in-law, Lee Foster 40, of Backbower Lane, Hyde, was convicted of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice following a trial.
He was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
Greater Manchester Police said offenders would pay Lowndes and Foster up to £400 and hand over their notices of intended prosecution (NIP).
They would then submit false nominations using false names from 11 addresses linked to Lowndes.
This would generate further notices to the "driver" and the process would be repeated until the legal time frame to prosecute had expired.
The prominence of the addresses used raised suspicion at ticket offices across the country and led to raids last May.
Foster was sentenced to 18 months in prison
Hundreds of NIP documents from police forces around the country, cash, blank envelopes and other items related to the operation were recovered.
Officers investigating the scam discovered that 728 offences were detected across 26 police forces between August 2006 and April 2010.
Of those, 632 were within Greater Manchester and more than 500 nominations were sent to Foster's home during the course of the scam.
As part of the wider investigation, more than 250 motorists who supplied their NIPs to Lowndes and Foster were arrested. Some of those have been convicted and received custodial sentences.
Sgt Mark Beales said: "Lowndes, with the help of his brother-in-law, ran an astonishing criminal enterprise that sought to make a mockery of road traffic laws and undermined the criminal justice system.
"He was simultaneously buying compromised credit card details that helped him live the kind of lifestyle many can only dream about and is a conman of considerable experience and expertise.
"The fact he has never sought a day's employment over recent years reflects a level of arrogance that suggests he thought he could continue to take from others for his own benefit without any repercussions."
He added: "While we went after the conspirators of this scam, we identified those who thought they could escape a motoring conviction, some of who have now ended up with a criminal conviction instead."
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|Dangerous drivers to face longer jail terms|
Dangerous drivers who seriously injure others could spend longer in jail thanks to a new criminal offence, Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke announced today.
The new offence of 'causing serious injury by dangerous driving' will carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison and allow the courts to impose tougher punishments on dangerous drivers who devastate the lives of others.
The changes will be taken forward as part of the Government's Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill.
For the vast majority of other dangerous driving cases, the maximum penalty of two years' imprisonment provides the courts with sufficient and proportionate powers to punish offenders.
Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke said:
"Dangerous driving can destroy lives and have a devastating effect on victims and their families and friends.
"We have listened to the victims of dangerous drivers, their families, MPs, judges and road safety groups and their experiences have directly informed these changes.
"Making our roads safer is a priority - five people died on our roads each day last year, so we need to do everything we can to further improve safety."
Ellen Booth, Brake senior campaigns officer said:
"Brake wholeheartedly welcomes this new offence which will help to provide justice to families whose lives have been ripped apart by dangerous drivers.
"As a charity that supports bereaved and seriously injured victims of road crashes, we repeatedly see victims' families being grossly let down by the justice system, which only adds to the terrible trauma they must endure.
"This new offence finally means that serious injury is recognised within the title of the offence, and this recognition is vitally important to victims and their families. It also means that dangerous drivers who inflict serious injuries can expect to see higher sentences to better reflect the terrible trauma and injuries they have caused."
Road Safety Minister Mike Penning said:
"The vast majority of motorists are safe and responsible but the wilfully reckless minority who put lives in danger must face serious penalties.
"We are taking action to help the police tackle drink and drug driving, as well as to crack down on uninsured and dangerous drivers, and this new offence will mean the courts can properly punish those who inflict serious injuries.
"These measures - together with improved educational courses for drivers who need to improve their skills - will help ensure Britain's roads remain among the safest in the world."
Andrew Howard, Head of Road Safety at the AA said:
"Dangerous drivers who do so wilfully choose to take risks and should face the consequences of their actions.
"These law changes should make sentences more proportionate to the devastation dangerous driving causes and should also deter people from driving badly."
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