A 64-year-old motorist has been jailed for eight months after police found that he had fitted two laser jammers to the front of his Mercedes.
Keith John from Ynysforgan, Swansea, claimed that the devices were a pair of parking sensors that he had fitted to the front of the car, but an engineer disproved the claim and called it a ‘deliberate scam’.
The laser jammers work by flashing infra-red light forward, which makes it impossible for a laser-based safety camera to take an accurate reading of a vehicle’s speed.
John was caught using the devices when his Mercedes was detected by a safety camera unit operated by Go Safe Cymru on the A40 dual-carriageway near Brecon. But while the camera registered the vehicle, it couldn’t take an accurate speed reading for it when other cars immediately before and after it were clocked correctly.
The safety camera operator made a note of the error and reported the vehicle for further investigation. Police inspecting the footage spotted the two jammers mounted on the front of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, either side of the number plate, below the car’s standard parking sensors set into the bumper.
When officers visited John’s home address, they seized the Mercedes and four additional vehicles. Examination of all five vehicles by forensic engineer Steve Callaghan uncovered six laser jammer systems in total, including a Vauxhall van which had two jamming systems and a laser warning device also fitted.
John was charged with perverting the course of justice for the incident with the Mercedes on May 19, 2019. He pleaded not guilty but delays in the justice system due to the Covid-19 pandemic meant his trial wasn’t held until May this year.
During the hearing at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court, Mr John claimed that the devices were parking sensors and that he hadn’t broken the 60mph speed limit on the day.
However, Mr Callaghan countered this, saying that the devices were ‘all but useless’ as parking sensors. “While Mr John, as others have done before him, contended that the blinder jammer can function as a parking sensor, this is a deliberate scam to attempt to confuse the police and courts,” he said.
Laser jammer legality
While these laser devices are legal to sell for use as parking sensors or garage door openers, using them to block a speed camera is illegal and their use is dealt with under laws for perverting the course of justice.
Speaking at John’s trial, Sergeant Ian Price, Go Safe Cymru co-ordinator at Dyfed-Powys Police, said his punishment was far greater than it would have been if he had just been caught speeding.
“Speeding in these circumstances would have ordinarily caused a driver to have their driving licence endorsed and a fine of £100, or an educational speed awareness course,” he said.
“However, when people go to extreme lengths to avoid prosecution in fitting technology to their car that allows them to exceed the speed limit without fear of prosecution, they show an insalubrious attitude towards the judicial system of this country and also display a complete disdain towards the risk of harm to others.
“The sentence handed out is a lesson to those in society who feel they can cheat the law and pose a real and substantial risk of harm on our roads.”
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