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Last Updated: Monday, 10 April 2006, 21:25 GMT 22:25 UK
Mail box dodge for speeding fines
Security boxes
Drivers register their cars at mail box addresses to avoid fines
A growing number of drivers travelling through Essex are avoiding speeding fines by registering their vehicles at mail boxes.

Speed camera notices are sent to these addresses but the owners of vehicles are proving difficult to trace.

A Chelmsford firm which provides the addresses claims they are doing nothing wrong and would co-operate with police but have never been approached.

Police said some drivers are going to extraordinary lengths to avoid fines.

If a police officer came into the shop now and had the right credentials we would make available to him anything we might have on record
John Shipley

Essex is the worst offending county and its 150 camera sites caught 78,000 drivers speeding or jumping red lights in 2004/05.

One private mail box company in Chelmsford has 45 cars registered there.

The cost is 12 per month for an address, the firm requires two types of identification and managers claim they are always willing to cooperate with the police.

But the firm has simply not been asked said John Shipley of Mail Boxes Etc in Chelmsford.

"If a police officer came into the shop now and had the right credentials we would make available to him anything we might have on record.

MP asks questions

"So it's difficult for me to see why they think there are so many people registered here who are unknown to the authorities."

Essex police are prosecuting one driver they have traced who uses a mail box and officers from Bedfordshire are pursuing three others.

There have been calls in parliament to close this loophole in the law. Simon Burns, MP for Chelmsford West, said: "What the government could do is to make it illegal to register a car except at the owner's home but making exceptions for company vehicles."

Fines of 5,000 and jail terms of up to two in years are the penalties for giving false information to the DVLA but it is a step many drivers are willing to take to avoid prosecution.


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