A FORMER on-loan Carlisle United player accused of illegally failing to tell police who was driving his speeding car on Christmas Day has been cleared of any wrongdoing.

After an hour-long trial at the city's Rickergate court, magistrates told Regan Slater, 19, he was a credible witness who had acted diligently to find out whether it was him or his friend at the wheel of his Audi car when it was clocked doing 71mph in a 40mph zone on the A66.

The court heard how a fixed speed camera at Kirkby Thore recorded the footballer's car heading towards Penrith at 11.13pm on December 25 last year.

Prosecutor Andy Travers outlined how over a number of weeks officials tried to identify the car's owner and did not do so successfully until March 31 this year.

When he was challenged about the speeding incident, he told officials he unsure who the driver was that day.

He said other people had access to the Audi and asked for a copy of the speed camera photo of the car in the hope this might identify the driver, but the quality of the image was so poor that this was not possible.

In his evidence, Mr Slater said he bought the car through a family friend and completed the necessary paper-work, believing everything was in order.

He explained he had received two previous speeding notifications.

"For one I took three points, and for the other I did a speeding awareness course," he said. "It was really helpful; it opened my eyes about the correct way to drive."

Asked about the day of the speeding incident, he said: "I was playing for Carlisle United at the time and had been at home [in Sheffield] with my family for Christmas Day.

"Everything was a bit hectic with the game [in Carlisle] coming up the next day."

He said he regularly shared the driving to Carlisle with another player but he too was unsure who was driving that day.

The court was given three character references for the player, whose father watched the hearing from the public gallery.

Finding him not guilty, the presiding magistrate told Mr Slater: "We find you to be a credible witness, who acted with reasonable diligence to resolve the issue.

"Given the time lapse, we accept that it was not possible to identify the driver."

Mr Slater was on to Carlisle from July, 2018 as part of a one-year deal.

He scored his first two goals for the club during Carlisle's win over Swindon town in November of the same year.

A midfielder, he currently plays for Scunthorpe United.