A DRIVER has been spared jail after he attempted to avoid a speeding fine by claiming his car registration had been cloned.

Paul McKenna, 33, was driving back from a music festival in Derbyshire with his girlfriend in the early hours of June 17, 2019.

Carlisle Crown Court heard that McKenna had been driving on the A66 at Kirkby Thore when he triggered a speed camera. He was captured travelling more than 50mph in a 40mph zone.

The defendant later received a notification to identify the name of the driver and began to contact the office of Cumbria Police.

Comments were made to McKenna about the colour of the car in error due to the infra-red nature of the camera, the court was told.

Alaric Walmsley, prosecuting, said McKenna had claimed he wasn't the registered keeper of the car.

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He said he suspected his vehicle registration must have been cloned because he was at a music festival. 

But it was discovered that McKenna's phone was in the area at the time of the offence.

The defendant was convicted of perverting the course of justice on February 15, following a trial at Carlisle Crown Court.

Jeff Smith, defending, said McKenna was aware the nature of this incident would mean a custodial sentence was 'almost inevitable'. 

McKenna claimed his plate had been cloned and he had been contacted by police to say he had not been prosecuted, his solicitor said.

He was told the vehicle was a white car rather than a red car and "he was then encouraged by that incident".

Passing sentence yesterday, Judge Barker said: "It's clear in my judgement you knew it was highly likely you were the driver of that vehicle. It was only a matter of weeks later.

"I'm fully satisfied you set to obstruct the police case. 

"You have taken this matter to trial and the jury have convicted you. 

"There is a deterrent element to the sentence. Only a custodial sentence can be passed."

McKenna, of Queen Street, Kirkintilloch, Glasgow, was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for two years, for perverting the course of justice.

The defendant's 'realistic prospect of rehabilitation' and the fact he had no previous convictions, were given as reasons for suspending the prison sentence.

McKenna was also banned from driving for 12 months and must complete 200 hours of unpaid work. He was fined £1,200 and must pay £1,200 in costs.

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