WATCH: Motorist caught speeding through Tyne Tunnel queues in fake ambulance is fined
A driver who fitted blue lights and a siren to his car to turn it into a fake ambulance has been fined by magistrates.
Shaun Scandle, 31, of Priestpopple, Hexham, was fined more than £1,000 and had nine points put on his licence after appearing at North Shields Magistrates Court.
Staff at the Tyne Tunnel called police on September 9, after concerns at the speed of the vehicle travelling southbound through the rush hour traffic.
Officers made enquiries with the North East Ambulance Service who said they had no record of one of their vehicles being in the area at the time.
An investigation was launch and, following close partnership work between the police, NEAS and tunnel operator TT2 Limited, Scandle was identified as the driver.
Officers visited Scandle and found his white Renault Megane had been covered in livery to make it look like a rapid response vehicle.
They also discovered he ran a business called Hadrian Medical Services offering first aid at events across the north east for which he used the vehicle.
On this occasion he had been providing first aid for the Tour of Britain cycle race and had been travelling to Blyth to attend a medical incident he had been called to.
Scandle was charged with careless driving and at the hearing he changed his plea to guilty to escape a lengthy driving ban.
The court also approved an application by Northumbria Police to destroy the equipment he used to create his fake ambulance.
A/Sgt Alan Keenleyside, of the Operations Department, said: “This may seem like a bizarre story but the reality is Mr Scandle was putting lives at risk through his behaviour on the road.
“Those working in the emergency services receive specialist training to drive our response vehicles and the public should not try and take that responsibility into their own hands.
“Mr Scandle is lucky that he did not receive a driving ban but hopefully he will think twice about his behaviour on the roads following his sentence at court.
“The emergency services do an incredibly difficult job to protect everyone in this region.
“It is something we are proud to do and those in our communities should leave it to the professionals.”
Stuart Sutton, Operations Manager at TT2 Limited, said: “I’d like to praise Northumbria Police and the North East Ambulance Service for their partnership working with TT2. This is an example of how collaboration has led to positive action to keep Tyne Tunnels customers safe.”
Northumbria Police have been running Operation Dragoon since summer 2014 which has had a huge impact on making the region’s roads a safer place.
If you suspect anyone of breaching the rules of the road then contact the team by calling 101.