Tourist fails to convince magistrates he was not speeding on Windermere

A TOURIST failed to convince magistrates he had not broken lake by-laws when he went on trial for speeding on Windermere.

Steven Wilkinson, 49, of The Triangle, Accrington, was stopped in his sports boat on September 1, 2012, after a day on the lake with family and friends.

Ranger Timothy Maggs told South Lakeland Magistrates’ Court he was returning to base at the Windermere Steamboat Museum around 5.30pm when he saw the boat emerge from behind Lady Holme island.

“It was travelling very fast at what I judged to be about twice the speed limit of 10mph,” he said.

The ranger recorded the boat using hi-tech video binoculars for around 40 seconds while Wilkinson covered a quarter of a mile of the lake.

“I decided to intervene to catch up with the boat because I didn’t want to be tearing up the lake to get to it.

“We have an advanced GPS speedometer which is accurate to within a fraction of one per cent. The speed was reading between 19.5 and 22 knots in the period I was following him.”

Wilkinson said at the time of the incident he was travelling back up from Bowness Bay.

“The ranger pulled alongside us and asked how fast I thought we were going. I said I wasn’t exceeding the speed limit.

“It is quite clear where the speed limit changes; when we went into Bowness Bay my friend asked me why we had slowed down, and I said it is now 6mph.

“I wasn’t knowingly driving the boat over the speed limit through them waterways on September 1.”

He confirmed that his speedometer, which measures the pressure of water that propels the boat, starts measuring at 10mph.

Witness Carl Smalley, 48, who was on the boat, said he watched the speedometer as they had travelled out of the bay and the needle rose from 6mph to 10mph.

And when they saw the ranger’s flashing lights he was travelling at 10mph.

Representing himself, Wilkinson told magistrates the case was littered with inaccuracies and was reliant on one person’s say-so.

“I was the victim of a motivated approach,” he said. “I have no problem with the bylaw and fully support making the lake a more beautiful place.”

He questioned Mr Maggs’s training and ability to judge the speed his boat was going, and disputed where he had been when he first saw the boat.

But magistrates were unconvinced, and finding him guilty, chairman John Falvey said he had considered Mr Maggs’s 19 years experience as a lake ranger and 15 years as a power boat instructor.

“Nothing we have heard from you or witnesses has placed any doubt in our minds as to the accuracy of his evidence,” he said.

“We are satisfied you would have known you were in excess of the limit.”

He was fined £450 and ordered to pay £450 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

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