A MOTORIST caught talking on his mobile phone told police it was a packet of chewing gum, a court heard.
John Brown was driving his Mercedes C220 on the A590 near to Ulverston when an off-duty officer on a motorbike says he saw him talking on his phone.
The officer, PC Ian D’Arcy, told Furness Magistrates that he signalled to on-duty colleague PC Russ Kitchin, who happened to be parked nearby at Newlands, and they stopped Brown.
Furness Magistrates were told that when Brown was approached, he told PC D’Arcy the phone had been on loud speaker – but then told PC Kitchin the item he had been holding was a blue packet of chewing gum.
The charge of driving while using a handheld mobile phone was proved in Brown’s absence during a trial on Monday. (4)
Mr John Appleby, prosecuting, said: “A statement from PC Kitchin says he was on duty at 12.20pm on March 23 in an unmarked Volvo when he was informed of a man driving while on his phone.
“He said when he approached the man he said it wasn’t a phone, but picked up a packet of chewing gum and said it was that he was holding.
“He then told the officer: ‘You can’t do this.
“Haven’t you anything better to do?’”
The court heard Brown, who was not represented by a solicitor, was fined £175 in December last year for a similar offence.
PC D’Arcy, who is part of the Ulverston road policing unit, appeared on the witness stand.
Brown, of Railway Terrace, Lindal, was fined £250 and ordered to pay £60 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.
His driving licence was endorsed with three penalty points.