A speeding driver who tried to blame his offence on someone else has been sent to prison, prompting a warning from Devon and Cornwall Police.

Alexandro Eli De Franca was caught travelling at 79mph on the A30 at Hawkstor near Bodmin, which has a 60mph speed limit for the class of vehicle being driven.

When the company he worked for received a notice of intended prosecution from Devon and Cornwall Police’s safety camera team, they nominated De Franca as the driver. However, De Franca then nominated another person as being the driver at the time of the offence, which raised suspicions among officers.

He was interviewed for taking a vehicle without consent, where he maintained his account that, on occasions, when he was unable to drive for his employer, he would collect the vehicle and give it to another person to drive on his behalf.

The person De Franca falsely nominated was convicted of the safety camera offence in his absence and it was only when he was made aware of this conviction that he realised he had been a victim of crime and that his details had been used falsely.

A joint investigation with Devon & Cornwall Road Safety Team and Avon & Somerset Police found De Franca had lied in order to try to avoid the speeding offence.

De Franca appeared at Plymouth Crown Court this month, where he was charged with perverting the course of justice. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four months in prison.

The vehicle captured travelling at 79mph when it should have been doing 60mph  Picture: Police/Vision Zero SW

The vehicle captured travelling at 79mph when it should have been doing 60mph Picture: Police/Vision Zero SW

Supt Adrian Leisk, roads policing lead and chair of the Vision Zero South West enforcement group, said: “If De Franca had admitted his guilt in the first instance, he would likely have received three penalty points and a £100 fine. Instead he chose to lie and is now spending four months in prison.

“Devon and Cornwall Police has a dedicated team of experienced officers who go under the banner of Op Cheetah. It is their job to investigate any roads policing cases where they suspect people are attempting to pervert the course of justice.

“Op Cheetah has access to vast levels of intelligence and databases which enables them to identify any false claims. Once detected – as with this case – these people will be robustly dealt with through the court system.

“In short, if you are contacted by the safety camera team about an offence, please tell the truth in all correspondence. The alternative could be much, much worse.”

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Drivers trying to evade responsibilities for their road safety camera offence could be found guilty of perverting the course of justice – a serious offence which can result in life imprisonment in the most extreme cases.

Offences can include:

• falsely nominating another person

• falsely nominating a driver that lives abroad – police will check with insurance companies to ensure they were aware of the additional risk on a vehicle

• nominating people who do not exist

• nominating addresses identified as ‘incorrect or false’

• accepting an offer from someone who says they can dispose of your offence in exchange for money

• altering the appearance of the vehicle and claiming it has been cloned

Anyone convicted of this ends up with a criminal record, which can affect employment opportunities and travel to foreign countries. Points on a driving licence for a speeding ticket get removed after four years, whereas a criminal record for perverting the course of justice is permanent.