A pub landlord who altered a road sign to try and prevent collisions escaped with a police caution after appearing in Harrogate Magistrates Court charged with criminal damage to property valued under £5,000.
On Tuesday April 2 John Nelson of the Coach and Horses on Harrogate’s West Park Street received a police caution after agreeing to pay a £400 damage bill to North Yorkshire County Council.
The 57-year-old well respected publican moved the arrow on a road sign on West Park Street which pointed right to Tower Street car park.
Geoffrey Rogers defending Mr Nelson told the court Mr Nelson removed the arrow to prevent accidents.
He said: “Mr Nelson has been landlord of the Coach and Horses since 2009 and since then there has been a number of accidents outside of the pub.
“West Park Street is a one-way road but there are two lanes of traffic and there have been numerous car accidents.”
Mr Rogers said that drivers unfamiliar with Harrogate don’t see the sign for parking at West Park car park with an arrow pointing toward Tower Street until it is too late so have to cut across the right-hand lane of traffic. He said: “That has been causing innumerable accidents.”
Mr Nelson admits he amended the sign several times and the third time he used a paint scraper which left scratches on the sign.
Mr Rogers said: “For a time there was no accidents until the sign was fixed and low and behold yet again the accidents started.”
“He feels aggrieved about being in court, though he accepts there was some minor damage to the sign,” said Mr Rogers.
After Mr Nelsons earlier hearing he said: “I did all of this in broad daylight, I haven’t been sneaking around with something to hide.
“My concern is that someone will be stood on that corner and a car will end up on the pavement.
“The last thing I want is that something happens there and someone is hurt or worse and I hadn’t done something.”
He added: “The majority of these accidents aren’t reported to the police, but it must be costing insurance companies thousands.”
Mr Nelson told The Harrogate Advertiser he has installed his own camera and is compiling a dossier of evidence of ‘near misses’ which he intends to submit to the authorities in a bid to get his concerns officially recognised.
“All I am waiting for is the first accident, which is not going to be long in coming.”