Couple’s car ‘caught speeding’ in UK as they holiday 1,500 miles away in Spain

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Gary Thornburn and Clare Beards had dropped their car off at Manchester Airport’s Meet and Greet service, before jetting off for 13 days in Murcia. When they returned from their break, they found a prosecution letter from the police in the post. It said the white Golf GTI had been caught driving at 55mph in a 30 zone.

Pictures in the letter showed a car with the same number plate committing the offence near Beswick, Manchester.

But the offence occurred on August 5 – two days after the couple had left their car with the official firm.

Speaking to Manchester Evening News, Gary said he has contacted the police to say neither he or his partner were responsible for speeding.

He said: “I have used meet and greet firms before and never had an issue.

“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.”

But the airport, the busiest in the UK of those that don’t serve London, claimed the vehicle remained at the compound for the entirety of the couple’s trip, so couldn’t have been used to commit the offence.

However, Gary added: “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 3rd, 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. Its a criminal offence and extremely dangerous going 55mph in a 30 zone.”

But the airport insists the the car caught speeding could not have been the same one.

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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