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Motoring offences scam man Colin Lowndes jailed

image captionLowndes ran an "astonishing criminal enterprise", police said

A man who masterminded a nationwide scam to help drivers escape motoring convictions has been jailed.

Colin Lowndes, 41, of Hattersley, Greater Manchester, helped more than 700 motorists avoid penalty points for speeding and other driving offences.

He admitted conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and 30 counts of fraud relating to a separate scam.

Lowndes, of Clough End Road, was jailed for seven years at Manchester Crown Court on Friday.

His accomplice and brother-in-law, Lee Foster 40, of Backbower Lane, Hyde, was convicted of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice following a trial.

False names

He was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Greater Manchester Police said offenders would pay Lowndes and Foster up to £400 and hand over their notices of intended prosecution (NIP).

They would then submit false nominations using false names from 11 addresses linked to Lowndes.

This would generate further notices to the "driver" and the process would be repeated until the legal time frame to prosecute had expired.

The prominence of the addresses used raised suspicion at ticket offices across the country and led to raids last May.

image captionFoster was sentenced to 18 months in prison

Hundreds of NIP documents from police forces around the country, cash, blank envelopes and other items related to the operation were recovered.

Officers investigating the scam discovered that 728 offences were detected across 26 police forces between August 2006 and April 2010.

Of those, 632 were within Greater Manchester and more than 500 nominations were sent to Foster's home during the course of the scam.

As part of the wider investigation, more than 250 motorists who supplied their NIPs to Lowndes and Foster were arrested. Some of those have been convicted and received custodial sentences.

Sgt Mark Beales said: "Lowndes, with the help of his brother-in-law, ran an astonishing criminal enterprise that sought to make a mockery of road traffic laws and undermined the criminal justice system.

"He was simultaneously buying compromised credit card details that helped him live the kind of lifestyle many can only dream about and is a conman of considerable experience and expertise.

"The fact he has never sought a day's employment over recent years reflects a level of arrogance that suggests he thought he could continue to take from others for his own benefit without any repercussions."

He added: "While we went after the conspirators of this scam, we identified those who thought they could escape a motoring conviction, some of who have now ended up with a criminal conviction instead."