A MAN caught speeding through the Eden Valley repeatedly lied to police staff by claiming a woman had been behind the wheel.‬

‪Dashti Sharifi, 27, was clocked at 46mph travelling westbound through a 40mph zone at Kirkby Thore - between Penrith and Appleby - during the early hours of March 23 last year.‬

‪Speed camera images showed a male driver had committed the offence in a BMW bearing a personalised numberplate with similarities to Sharifi’s name.‬

‪But when sent official forms which asked him, as the vehicle’s registered keeper, to state who was driving, the 27-year-old lied in three separate correspondence replies, pretending to be a woman who claimed “she” was the speeder.‬

‪But sceptical police refused to accept the dubious explanation. And after they sent back enlarged images of the male driver and visited her supposed address, Sharifi finally made a phone call to confess he was the man at fault and had “made a mistake”.‬

‪It emerged the woman in question had not been in the UK since 2018.‬

‪“He admitted filling out the paperwork,” prosecutor Jeremy Grout-Smith told Carlisle Crown Court. “He said he did so because he drove for a living, and did not want to lose his taxi driver badge.”‬

‪A man of previous good character who had latterly opened a barber’s shop, Sharifi, of Lancaster Road, Middlesbrough, admitted doing acts tending and intended to pervert the course of public justice.‬

‪Mark Shepherd, defending, said of his client: “He was naive as to the serious of what he was doing.‬ It is highly significant, a stain upon his character. This will affect his life and how he chooses to live it for a very long time.‬

‪“He has no complaints. He understands what he was doing was lying. He acknowledges there was a deception which was continued for a degree of time.”‬

‪After hearing mitigation, Recorder Anna Vigars QC decided to suspend a four-month jail term - “just and only just” - for 18 months. Sharifi must complete 200 hours’ unpaid work and a three-month, electronically monitored night-time curfew.‬