Former High Sheriff of Lancashire cleared of speeding charge

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THE former High Sheriff of Lancashire avoided a speeding fine by courtesy of a Royal appointment.

A court heard the Maserati Quattroporte owned by Dennis Mendoros was caught on camera doing 43 m.p.h. in a 30 m.p.h. zone.

But the aerospace tycoon told the court he could not have been driving the car at 10 a.m. as claimed by the camera as he was in a meeting planning for a Royal visit.

Mr Mendoros OBE (56), of Skipton Road, Foulridge, accepted it was his car, carrying the personal number plate DGM 3, caught on camera. He also said no one else had driven the car on that day.

“The keys were in my pocket and no one else drove the car,” said Mr Mendoros.

He said he had arrived at Blackburn town hall for a meeting with the chief executive of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council shortly before 10 a.m. Just days earlier, it had been revealed Prince William and Kate Middleton would be visiting the area on their final public appearance before their wedding.

“At the time I was High Sheriff of Lancashire and the meeting was to discuss arrangements for the Royal visit a few days later,” he told the court. “I made sure I was on time for the meeting and at 10 a.m. I was in the town hall sat across a table from the chief executive.”

Town hall boss Graham Burgess confirmed the meeting and said it was his recollection Mr Mendoros had arrived a couple of minutes early.

He said the meeting had been arranged at short notice but he had squeezed it into a busy schedule because of the importance of the Royal visit.

Mr Don Green (prosecuting) said the credibility of the camera or its operation had not been questioned and the defendant himself had admitted nobody else had driven his car that day.

But Mr Robin Phoenix (defending) said a highly credible witness had confirmed his client could not have been driving the car at 10 a.m.

“That is what he has told the police and prosecution all along and I would suggest you have heard no evidence that would allow you to convict him of driving that car at 10 a.m,,” said Mr Phoenix.

Finding Mr Mendoros not guilty, the chairman of the magistrates said they were unable to be sure “beyond reasonable doubt” he had been driving at the specified time.

Mr Mendoros established Kelbrook firm Euravia Engineering and Supply Company as a one-man operation in 1988. It is now a multi-million pound company with defence and civil contracts in the UK and overseas.