A motorist has escaped a fine and points on his licence after Asset Protection Unit was able to prove his innocence by analysing the vehicle’s telematics data.
The driver, from Wembley, London was accused of speeding in Lincoln in November last year even though the vehicle thought to be involved, a BMW 2 Series, was actually still in Wembley.
The police issued the fine of £100 and three penalty points when a vehicle was caught by a fixed speed camera in Lincoln travelling at 35 mph on a 30 mph stretch of road.
However, the hire car was equipped with a telematics device which proved the vehicle was in fact located at the other end of the country at the time of the alleged offence, meaning the vehicle had been cloned.
The driver, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “I couldn’t quite believe my eyes when I first opened the letter saying I’d been caught speeding in a city I hadn’t even visited for years.
“At first you question yourself but ultimately I knew I hadn’t been to Lincoln, and certainly not to break the speed limit.
“When I found out the hire car had telematics, APU just swung into action really, so it’s good to know it’s been resolved. It’s a shame to know that car cloning is still common, though.”
Data generated by the In-Car Cleverness telematics device was interrogated by APU experts who wrote to the police to provide evidence in support of the driver’s denial he was at the wheel. The police later dropped the case.
Neil Thomas, director of Investigative Services at APU, said: “It’s very satisfying to help out innocent motorists of course, but the real worry here is that it’s almost certain the vehicle in question has been cloned.
“We’ve seen a number of similar cases surface recently and the worry is that cloning could be back on the rise again.
“It’s usually linked to large-scale organised crime, and it’s hard to stamp out because the clone is registered to the innocent owner’s address so you have to catch the crooks out on the road.
“However, we believe criminals are increasingly using cloned cars so that innocent drivers shoulder the blame for their inexcusable driving.”
Car cloning involves the theft of a vehicle’s identity including the registration number and vehicle identification number (VIN). These details can be used on other similar vehicles, which are then sold for profit or utilised for petty theft or organised crime.