A motorist has launched a crowdfunding campaign after he was fined for sticking both his middle fingers up at a police speed van whilst driving past under the limit.
Ben Baron, 44, was on his way to work in Clayton-le-Moors, Lancashire, on December 5 when he passed the camera ‘hotspot’ where he had previously been caught speeding.
The software developer was so ‘elated’ to pass the camera while under the limit that he decided to celebrate by sticking his middle fingers up at the operator – laughing as he drove ‘around 200 metres’ with both hands off the wheel.
But around six weeks later the father-of-two received a letter stating that he had been snapped ‘not being in a position to have proper control’ of the vehicle.
An amount has yet to be set for the fine, which could be up to a maximum of £1,000, as Mr Baron has to respond to confirm he was driving the van which is registered to his company.
Ben Baron, 44, was on his way to work in Clayton-le-Moors, Lancashire, on December 5 when he stuck both his middle fingers up at the police speed van
The van driver was ‘in tears of laughter’ after receiving the legal letter with a notice of intended prosecution in mid-January, with images showing him swearing while his passenger laughed along.
He believes whoever gave him the fine was ‘making it person’ and has launched a GoFundMe page to cover the cost – vowing to give any leftover money to charity.
Mr Baron, who lives in Great Harwood, Lancashire, said: ‘[When I got the letter] I was in tears of laughter. I’ll take one for the team with this one because it’s so funny.
‘It’s a clear-cut case of me flipping the bird at them with both hands.
‘It’s a bit of kudos. It’s so funny – I’m happy to pay the fine.
The software developer was so ‘elated’ to pass the camera while under the limit that he stuck his middle fingers up laughing as he drove ‘around 200 metres’ with both hands off the wheel
But around six weeks later Mr Baron received a letter stating that he had been snapped ‘not being in a position to have proper control’ of the vehicle
‘I did a celebratory double-flipping, two-handed, which is obviously now leading to the prosecution.
‘I carried on doing it for quite a while – around 200 metres potentially. They’ve got good cameras.
‘I think looking on the internet the maximum fine is £1,000 for that offence. I decided to launch a GoFundMe. Hopefully people with a sense of humour [will donate].
‘I’ll pay the fine off then give the rest to charity if there’s anything left.’
The dad-of-two’s GoFundMe page , titled ‘Help Me Pay My Fine For Sticking It To The Man’ was launched on Wednesday morning and has so far raised £27
The dad-of-two’s GoFundMe
On the page, Ben wrote: ‘Speed camera man made it personal!
‘I was travelling under the limit when I spotted the van and decided to celebrate by flipping him the finger. Unfortunately, I did it with both hands….and he clearly decided to make it personal.
‘Made my day when I got notice of intended prosecution together with frameable photos for not having full control of a vehicle.
‘Happy to take the points on this one but was suggested I [set up a fundraising page] to pay the fine and donate any excess to charity. Whilst it’s amusing, covid is tough.’
Mr Baron believes whoever gave him the fine was ‘making it person’ and has launched a GoFundMe page to cover the cost – vowing to give any leftover money to charity
For failing to be in proper control of a motor vehicle, offenders may receive three penalty points and a £100 fine if dealt with by way of a fixed penalty. The maximum penalty is a £1,000 fine.
Ben said: ‘It’s a known hotspot where they put cameras. I knew I was under the limit because I’d been done there previously.
‘It’s on the brow of a hill and as you come round the corner, you can see the van. I saw it and I was elated that I was under the speed limit.
‘I carried on giving the guy the finger all the way past, smiling and laughing. I’m sure the guy took it a bit personally and rewound his tape to see what was going on.
‘I knew I was being filmed flipping the finger, but I was celebrating being under the limit.
Social media users came up with creative excuses for the offence, telling Mr Baron to claim he was ‘reading for the sun visor’
‘I thought I was perfectly fine and it wasn’t an issue, but clearly they’ve decided to make it personal as I had two hands off the wheel.
‘A friend of mine thought it was super funny too. You can see the look on her face.
‘I got the original notice of prosecution through about a month ago, but I replied to them saying they hadn’t sent it in due course.
‘They are supposed to serve it within 14 days. I sent it back saying ‘it’s outside the time and I’ll appeal for this’.
‘They then sent it back with the photos of me doing that, clearly, and telling me it was in the time frame.
‘I don’t know how much the fine is yet as the van is under my limited company, so I need to send the letter back to say it’s me driving.’
The experienced driver claims he has been inundated with tips on how to appeal the fine by online well-wishers – but admits they didn’t know the full story.
Since he has freely admitted to the offence, he claims he won’t appeal it, but hopes some contributions on his fundraising page maybe soften the financial blow.
Ben said: ‘I’ve been driving for 20 years. It was a quiet day on the roads since it’s lockdown. I was just driving to the office.
‘Online, I’ve had [funny replies] and people telling me how to appeal it, but I don’t think they knew the full story.
‘I can’t necessarily appeal it. Realistically, I don’t think I’ll get away with it because I was doing it.’
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