A JUDGE has jailed two Carlisle men who agreed to lie on official paperwork about who was at the wheel of a speeding car.

The city’s crown court heard how former footballer Richard Farish, 37, who once won a scholarship to study the sport in America, was given an initial £160 payment for falsely claiming he was the driver of a VW Golf clocked doing 79mph in a 30mph area.

The driver was actually 31-year-old Jason Lee Farmer.

A new father, with dozens of offences on his record, Farmer wanted Farish to take the blame because he knew a driving ban would be the likely to result of a prosecution. Farish agreed – and also asked Farmer to ‘put the frighteners’ on the father of a woman he had made pregnant, the court heard.

Both Farmer, of Gilsland Road, Durranhill, Carlisle, and Farish, of Warwick Square, Carlisle, admitted perverting the course of justice.

Prosecutor Francis McEntee said the offence came to light by chance as police were investigating other alleged offences and found a series of of mobile phone WhatsApp messages between the two men.

The messages – sent between May 8 and 13 – revealed how the defendants agreed for Farish to take the blame for the speeding offence, committed as Farmer drove on the A6071 near Smithfield on April 23 last year.

“£160 had been paid up front,” said Mr McEntee. “Farish requested that Farmer put the frighteners on someone because he had problems with the father of a girl he had made pregnant.”

The court heard how Farmer already has 39 offences on his criminal record, including disqualified driving and conspiring to supply cocaine.

Sarah Magill, for Farmer, said he had “turned a corner” in his life. He had formed a deep connection with his two-week-old baby daughter and wanted to play a positive and constructive role in her life, said the barrister.

Sean Harkin, for Farish, a man of previous good character, said his client was “truly remorseful”, and unaware of how serious it was. The lawyer added: “He was a talented footballer and had a scholarship to study at university in America and play football. But he got a bad injury and it didn’t work out.”

Recorder Philip Grundy jailed Farmer for 12 weeks and Farish for eight. “Such offences strike at the heart of the administration of justice,” said the judge.