On 28 May 2017, a black Audi A6 was recorded as travelling at 92mph on the A23 at Bolney – a 70mph limit.
A Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) was sent to the keeper – a woman from Manor Road, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire – however she handed it to her husband, Benjamin Ludlow, as he was driving on the day in question, and he returned it to police.
The 43-year-old osteopath, of the same address, had nominated the driver as a woman from London, whom he stated had borrowed the car. Attempts were made to contact her but to no avail.
Offence photographs were re-examined, which clearly showed a man driving the Audi.
Following this, further documents were sent to the keeper and these were again returned by Ludlow, who again nominated the same woman from London.
He was subsequently interviewed by officers at the Central Ticketing Summons Unit at Shoreham Police Station, where he fully admitted to making a false nomination in order to avoid the excess speed offence.
Ludlow added that he had passed the papers to an associate in London, who told him he could make the offence “disappear”. It transpired his wife – the keeper of the Audi – had no knowledge of this.
On 4 October 2018 at Lewes Crown Court, Ludlow pleaded guilty to the offence of perverting the course of justice and was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months. He was also ordered to pay a £115 victim surcharge.
The investigation was launched as part of Operation Pinocchio – an ongoing operation set up by Sussex Police in 2016 with the following aims:
- To improve safety on Sussex’s roads by tracing and prosecuting offenders who provide false information in an attempt to avoid prosecution;
- And to prevent law-abiding motorists, who have been badly advised, from committing serious criminal offences by attempting to avoid speeding or red light offences.
The offence carries a maximum term of life imprisonment.