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Couple sent speeding fine despite holidaying over 1,500 miles away after leaving their vehicle at airport valet parking service

By Tom Gibson | August 23, 2022

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A baffled couple were left fuming after being threatened with prosecution for being caught speeding on a Manchester road despite soaking up some summer sun in Spain.

Couple sent speeding fine despite holidaying over 1,500 miles away after leaving their vehicle at airport valet parking service

Gary Thornburn and Clare Beards left their car at one of Manchester Airport’s meet and greet sites - also known as valet parking on 3rd August.

By the time they had returned just short of two weeks later they’d received a prosecution notice from Greater Manchester Police dated 10th August.

The notice said their white Golf GTI was travelling at 55mph in a 30mph zone along Alan Turing Way - around ten miles away from the airport. 

Pictures showed the car that was caught speeding had the same numberplate and was the same model as Mr Thornburn’s Golf, but airport officials have since said the car stayed in a safe compound for their duration of the trip, so could not have been used to commit the offence.

Police did not comment directly on the case, but said any appeal against a speeding notice will see proceedings continue 'until the full circumstances are established to determine if there is any case to answer'

Mr Thornburn told the Manchester Evening News: 'I knew they take the cars off site to somewhere else but you don't think you'll be accused of speeding 11 miles away from the airport.'

'We opened the post and my wife came in and said I had a speeding fine from the 5th August but I said it can't have been either of us as we were away then. We had dropped the car off at Terminal 3 on Wednesday 3 at around 10pm. 

'I knew they would transport it elsewhere to a safe location. We used the official meet and greet firm as we wanted to make sure the car was looked after because it was very expensive.

'I wouldn't have ever thought somebody would've been driving around in it going at such a speed. It's a criminal offence and extremely dangerous going 55mph in a 30 zone.'

The couple contacted the police to tell them they were in Spain and could not have been driving the car on 5th August and are waiting to hear back. 

A spokesman for Manchester Airport said: 'We are aware that a customer who booked Meet & Greet car parking at Manchester Airport has received a notice of intended prosecution from Greater Manchester Police, which relates to an alleged speeding offence that took place while they were on holiday.

'We understand this would be distressing for the customer concerned, and launched an immediate investigation after being notified. 

'This investigation has indicated the car that was booked in with us remained in a secure storage area until it was collected by the customer on their return. The key to the vehicle was also securely stored throughout.

'Further investigations indicate the vehicle shown in the speed camera image is different to the one that was left with us. 

'While the customer concerned has not made a complaint to Manchester Airport, we have made several attempts to speak with them directly, in order to share our findings and remain eager to do so, as well as assisting the police in any enquiries they wish to make into the matter.

'We want to assure customers that there are a number of strict security measures in place to monitor the whereabouts of vehicles left with us and ensure they are kept safe at all times.'

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