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Italian Job sat nav driver cops £900 fine

Yorkshire precipice escapade ends in court

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The Doncaster man who slavishly followed his sat nav to the edge of a West Yorkshire cliff has been punished with a £370 fine, £500 costs, a £15 victim surcharge and six points on his licence for driving without due care and attention.

Robert Jones, 43, was driving his £30,000 BMW 5 Series though the village of Gauxholme back in March, when his TomTom ordered him up a narrow footpath. He only realised he'd taken a seriously wrong turn when he hit a fence on the edge of a precipice.

It subsequently took extraction operatives nine hours and three quad bikes to rescue the vehicle. One local witness commented: "It's like something from The Italian Job, but what a waste of police time. It's all very well and good trusting your sat nav, but how about trusting your eyes?"

As a result of his off-roading escapade, Jones earned himself an appearance before Calderdale Magistrates Court. Waseem Raja, prosecuting, said: "The defendant was using a TomTom satellite navigation system. The defendant followed that system to the letter, so much so it led him up a lane clearly unsuitable for motor vehicles.

"The path was such it was not designed for use of motor vehicles, yet Mr Jones slavishly continued to follow the sat nav system to the point where his eyes and his brain must have been telling him otherwise to such a degree he was not exercising proper control of the vehicle."

Road traffic officer PC Stephen Young explained that the bridle path "belonged to a local farmer" who'd described the track as "so precarious that he would not, as a general rule, take his own horses down because it was so narrow".

Slapping Jones with the aforemetioned fine, magistrates' chairwoman Alayne Fisher said: "The court finds that you gave insufficient attention to the road conditions that had obviously deteriorated to such a degree that you could not carry on safely."

Outside the court, Jones protested: "I'm extremely disappointed. I was using the sat nav properly but users should be made more aware they should only use them as a guide. I still use mine. It's the only time it's ever let me down." ®

Bootnote

Jones is another £1,000 out of pocket - the cost of having his car towed to safety after the AA refused to assist. The Sun has a fine snap of the rescue here.

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