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Saturday, 25 October 2014

Video binoculars catch speeders

By Richard MachinINNOVATIVE technology is helping rangers on Windermere to crack down on boat owners flouting the lake’s speed limit.

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FLASHBACK: A previous Windermere protest rally against the imposition of the controversial 10mph speed limit. No-one in this library photo is connected to three cases which have seen tourists prosecuted by the Lake District National Park AuthorityJON GRANGER REF: 0247904

Three tourists have been successfully prosecuted by the Lake District National Park Authority, after they were caught by rangers using special binoculars.

The speed limit, which is 10mph and 6mph in different parts of the lake, has been enforceable since 2005, following years of wrangling over the issue.

Jonathan Brooks, of Ruebury Lane, Osmotherley, North Yorkshire, admitted exceeding the 6mph limit on June 4. He was stopped at Waterhead after towing his son on a water ski.

A ranger advised him he had high-definition video footage of him driving and was in his judgement driving at an estimated 15mph, having filmed the vessel for three minutes on the binoculars.

In a statement, Brooks said: “I fully support the need to restrict speed on the lake and had no intention of knowingly breaking the law.”

He was fined £450, ordered to pay £150 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

Richard Green, 37, of Rhodes Street, Saltaire, was caught driving his boat from Brockhole Jetty to Langdale Chase in May.

He was filmed travelling at an estimated 30mph in a 10mph zone. Magistrates fined him £400, ordered him to pay £150 costs and a £15 surcharge. A third case against Paul Jones, of Upper Aughton Road, Birkdale, Southport, was proved in his absence after he failed to respond to court documents.

He was stopped after breaking both the 10mph limit and 6mph speed limits on May 27.

The ranger estimated he was travelling at 20mph for about three-quarters of a mile, then as he headed towards Bowness Bay, reduced to 15mph.

Jones was fined £475 fine and ordered to pay £150 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

Julie Wood, head of legal services for LDNPA, said: “It is possible for the ranger to record the speeding boat without being seen first; previously they would have had to trail the boat to get an accurate reading.’’

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