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The Northumbria Safety Camera Partnership, aka "Safe speed for life" has just published its top 10 excuses for geting nobbled by a speed, sorry, safety camera. Top of the list is alien-induced trance, closely followed by blaming excessive velocity on a passing aircraft. The list is culled from the letters received by fixed-penalty units in which motorists attempt to extricate themselves from copping a fine for speeding.

Northumbria Safety Camera Partnership manager Ray King said: "Some drivers seem to think that if they tell a good enough story then they will get off, which unfortunately rarely works. It is quite amazing the lengths some drivers will go to to avoid £60 and three points, when really the alternative is extremely simple - keep within the speed limit."

Quite so - just like the driver of the 406mph Peugeot we reported on back in January, who should have known better than to push his petrol-driven rocket beyond the limits of credulity for the benefit of the cameras.

But we digress. The top ten list is:

  1. I had passed out after seeing flashing lights, which I believed to be UFOs in the distance. The flash of the camera brought me round from my trance.
  2. I was in the airport’s flight path and I believe the camera was triggered by a jet overhead, not my car.
  3. I had a severe bout of diarrhoea and had to speed to a public toilet.
  4. There was a strong wind behind my car which pushed me over the limit.
  5. My friend had just chopped his fingers off and I was rushing the fingers to hospital.
  6. The vibrations from the surfboard I had on the roof rack set off the camera.
  7. I had to rush my dying hamster to the vets.
  8. A violent sneeze caused a chain reaction where my foot pushed down harder on the accelerator.
  9. There was a suspected case of foot and mouth and I had to rush to see the cow concerned.
  10. The only way I could demonstrate my faulty clutch was to accelerate madly.

Good stuff. Might we suggest, though, that there is an absolute cracker missing from this litany of shame: "I saw the chief constable in charge of traffic for Greater Manchester go past me at 104mph and decided to give chase and effect a citizen's arrest." Yup, it works for us. ®

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