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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 June, 2003, 17:53 GMT 18:53 UK
Man chopped down speed trap
Martin O'Callaghan
O'Callaghan was doing 73mph

A man who chopped down a speed camera with an angle grinder to avoid a speeding ticket has been ordered to pay 4,000 compensation,

Martin O'Callaghan was snapped by the camera doing 73mph on the 60mph A5 in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, on 28 March this year.

The demolition worker, from Horbling, Lincolnshire, then returned to the scene four hours later and cut down the 30,000 radar.

The 27-year-old, who pleaded guilty to criminal damage and speeding, appeared at Nuneaton Magistrates' Court on Thursday and was ordered to carry out 120 hours community service.

Confessed to police

The court was told that O'Callaghan was flashed by the camera at Red Gate on Watling Street about 2130 BST as he drove to help a female friend who was broken down on the M69 in Leicestershire.

On his return journey, he stopped at the scene about 0130 BST with a friend, Marc Grant, and used a used a power tool to cut down the Gatsometer machine.

Grant, 27, of Crabbs Cross, Redditch, Worcestershire, also pleaded to criminal damage despite the court hearing he played a minor role in the incident.

The court was told O'Callaghan immediately confessed to police who arrested him at the scene, telling officers that a speeding conviction could cost him his job.

The camera was repaired after the incident, leaving the Warwickshire Casualty Reduction Partnership with a bill for almost 4,300.

'Bitter regret'

Philip Rowlands, who represented both men, said the incident had been a "spur of the moment".

He said O'Callaghan "bitterly regretted" getting involved.

Mr Rowlands said O'Callaghan was sacked by his then employers on the day after the incident when they learned of his arrest.

As well as the compensation order, O'Callaghan was ordered to pay 55 costs and was given three points on his driving licence for the speeding offence.

Grant, of Eunal Court, Crabbs Cross, was ordered to pay the same sum in costs and compensation of 449.42.

Chief Superintendent Jon Bond, of Warwickshire Police, said after the hearing: "There was the risk that he could have fried himself.

"I think it's very sad that an individual who has been detected speeding then takes the law into their own hands to try and avoid prosecution."

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