20/10/2008

'Tax Dodgers' Camera Catches Roads' Minister

A mistaken belief that it was permissible to ride a vehicle to a garage to have it serviced for an MOT test has led to the Stormont Minister responsible for roads being fined for riding one of his several motorcycles without tax or MOT.

Northern Ireland's Environment Minister Sammy Wilson has been docked £40 in fines after he was caught on a 'technical' point of the law as he was taking the bike to a garage to have it serviced prior to its MOT test.

Mr Wilson, the DUP's East Antrim MP, owns five motorcycles, and said he thought Vehicle and Driver Licensing Agency, which is under the control of Mr Wilson's Department of Environment allowed such a short-term measure.
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However, it made no difference when the Executive Minister was detected riding the bike on the Newtownards Road in east Belfast, not far from Parliament Buildings at Stormont.

It is understood he was caught by a camera detection unit in east Belfast.

Mr Wilson told the Sunday Life newspaper he had been taking the bike to a garage for a pre-MOT service.

But, the Department of the Environment said the case had been dealt with using standard enforcement procedures.

The DVA says the motorcycle is now legally on the road.

"The law states I should have taken the bike on a trailer," he told the newspaper.

"I suspect there are thousands of bikers who would quite legitimately get their bikes on the road before they go for MOT," he commented, when questioned by the Sunday newspaper.

(BMcC)

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