Banned Mansfield driver told court his former drug dealer stole his identity to buy car

A Mansfield man told a court his former drug dealer stole his identity and got him disqualified from driving as a totter by running a red light in Ashfield.

Thursday, 20th May 2021, 3:48 pm

Matthew Northridge was disqualified from driving by Mansfield Magistrates’ Court after he failed to attend his trial in December 19, an appeal at Nottingham Crown Court was told on Thursday, May 20.

He was convicted in his absence of running the red light and failing to provide details of a driver when he was later contacted by the DVLA.

The court was told that the 38-year-old had been written to on three occasions but failed to reply to court papers or attend his trial date.

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Nottingham Crown Court, where Matthew Northridge appeared to appeal his conviction

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The Ford Mondeo was also registered in his name with the DVLA and insurance had also been taken out in Northridge’s name on the vehicle.

But Northridge, of Hobhouse Road, Mansfield, said the other man had registered the vehicle in his name following an altercation – and had also triggered two speed cameras on a return trip to London in a bid to buy drugs.

Northridge appealed his conviction in January last year, and his ban was suspended until the appeal date.

He told the court he had not been staying at the Hobhouse Road address at the time the DVLA letters were sent through, and his mother ‘must have thrown them away’.

Speaking in his own defence, Northridge told the court: “This man was feeding me crack cocaine. I wasn’t aware of the letters and I have appealed it because it is something that I didn’t do.

“He must have bought this car and put it in my name and put his name on the insurance in case he got pulled over with drugs in the car. He went to London in it to pick up drugs and come back.

“I contacted the DVLA three or four times when the logbook first came through. He knew my address because he had picked me up a couple of times. I’ve never owned a Ford Mondeo.”

The court was told that Northridge had been off drugs ‘since before lockdown’.

Prosecutors alleged that Northridge had been aware that he was due to be disqualified as a totter and had made up the drug dealer and the driver fraud in a bid to keep his licence.

No report had been made to Nottinghamshire Police to report the fraud, the court was told.

The appeal ruled the allegation Northridge had run the red light – on the junction of Coxmoor Road and Derby Road, in Sutton – had not been proven beyond reasonable doubt and upheld that part of proceedings.

However, the bench ruled that Northridge – who had a total of nine penalty points on his licence prior to the incidents – had been aware of the DVLA letters and knowingly failed to respond to them.

He was given six penalty points on his now-clean licence and was ordered to pay the £180 fine first imposed by magistrates in Mansfield.

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