Cunning driver jailed after using speed 'jammer' to fool police on the streets of Harrogate

Investigating officer TC Forth and the BMW in question.
Investigating officer TC Forth and the BMW in question.

A businessman and charity fundraiser who used a speed ‘jammer’ to avoid penalty points has been jailed for his audacious ruse.

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Michael Twizell, 58, bought the device for his high-performance BMW 335 in January 2017, believing it would enable him to drive unhindered by speed restrictions.

Ironically, Twizell wasn’t even speeding when he was clocked on the A658 near Haggs Road, just outside Harrogate, in February last year.

Police traced him through his registration and he was arrested about a week later on suspicion of perverting the course of justice.

Twizell claimed he bought the device believing it to be a parking sensor and that he had no idea it was unlawful, although he admitted that it did have ‘jamming’ capabilities. He pleaded guilty to the offence and appeared for sentence at York Crown Court on Monday.

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Prosecutor George Hazel-Owram said the civilian operator of the speed-detection equipment had tried three times to take a reading of the BMW’s speed at about midday on February 15. On the fourth attempt, the operator noted that the car had slowed down “rapidly” to 21mph.

Twizell told officers he bought the device on the internet believing it to be a “parking aid”.

But Mr Hazel-Owram said that a “BMW of that specification would already have been fitted with perfectly-good parking sensors”.

The court heard that Twizell, of Low Road, Dewsbury, already had three points on his licence from a speeding offence in May 2017.

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Defence barrister Sarah Barlow said there was “absolutely no suggestion” that Twizell was speeding when his vehicle was finally clocked.

She said the BMW was travelling at 27mph in a 60mph zone, and the only reason the camera had been deployed automatically was because it was on a bend.

Ms Barlow said Twizell was a “careful and competent” driver who travelled tens of thousands of miles a year as part of his job.

Two former police officers and even a justice of the peace provided references for Twizell attesting to his good character.

The married businessman, who recently retired, had done much charitable work down the years and made personal donations to causes such as the NSPCC, Macmillan Cancer Support, Yorkshire Air Ambulance and the children’s charity Candlelighters.

But judge Simon Hickey said there was “only one common-sense conclusion” to the laser-jammer being fitted to Twizell’s BMW and that was a deliberate attempt to avoid being prosecuted for speeding.

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He said it was patently clear that the device had alerted the businessman to the presence of a speed camera and that was why he had slowed down.

“I don’t accept that you simply thought (the device) was a parking assist,” Mr Hickey told the defendant.

“You are a 58-year-old man of impeccable character (but) these are serious offences and the message must go out (that) there must be a deterrent sentence to stop people behaving in this way.”

Twizell was jailed for three months and ordered to pay £1,500 costs. He was not given a driving ban.

Following sentence, Traffic Constable Andrew Forth, who led the case, said: “This sends a message out to people that using devices similar to this for the purposes of perverting the course of justice is a serious offence and will be dealt with as such by the courts.”