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Sunday, 21 December 2014

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Cumbrian optician escapes drive ban after fourth speeding offence

An optician who clocked up his fourth speeding offence in as many years has escaped a driving ban because he needs to drive to his patients’ homes.

Fifty-three-year-old Steven Gurdit Sarang, of Townfoot Park, Brampton, admitted doing 35mph in a 30mph zone on August 3 but told district judge Gerald Chalk that he had patients across Cumbria and the north east and needed his licence to get to them.

Carlisle Magistrates’ Court heard how Sarang worked for the NHS as an optometrist and covers Cumbria, Jarrow and Jedbergh, in the north east, and south west Scotland. He employees six people and travels to patients’ homes. If he lost his driving licence, his staffs’ jobs could be in jeopardy, he said.

Sarang told the judge he travelled to patients homes to provide a domiciliary service for people who couldn’t get to his practice.

“I have helped over 30,000 patients - and saved at least 30 people’s sight,” he added. “A driving ban could have a devastating impact on my patients and staff.”

The court heard how Sarang had been on his way back from a holiday with his wife in Ireland. They got off the ferry at Fishguard, in Pembrokeshire, south Wales, and he was driving on unfamiliar roads when the offence happened on the A4120 at Heol y Bont, Aberystwyth, in Ceredigion. The judge agreed not to impose a driving ban and put three points on his licence, taking the total to 12.

He accepted his exceptional hardship plea, he said.

“He supplies an important service to patients within the NHS, he has six staff and their jobs could be put at risk,” he said. He warned Sarang that he had a “poor driving record” - “almost one speeding offence in each of the last four years.

He was fined £200 and ordered to pay £50 court costs and a victim surcharge of £20.

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