AN England cricketer offered to appear at charity events in Swindon in an attempt to dodge points on his licence for doing 95mph on the M4.
Swindon Magistrates Court yesterday warned that the system would not be manipulated, after Ravinder Bopara asked to serve a disqualification rather than tot up points – which could lead to him missing vital fixtures if he is caught again and banned during the summer.
The 27-year-old all-rounder provided references from England captain Alistair Cook and cricket stalwart Graham Sandy MBE and even offered to appear at charity events in the town.
He was caught speeding in his Jaguar sports car by an UltraLyte laser speed gun which clocked him travelling at 95mph on July 27 between junctions 15 and 16 on the M4.
The following day he pulled out of England’s Test against South Africa for personal reasons.
Bopara, who already had six points on his licence, had asked to serve a disqualification instead of points which would put him on the brink of being banned.
His lawyer, Yasin Patel, told Swindon Magistrates’ Court the all-rounder was apologetic and saw himself as a role model for young people. He said: “In terms of his character he drives 20 to 30,000 miles during the summer months.
“On the day in question he had to get back to duty, effectively for an England call-up. That’s why he was speeding on that day.”
Asking for an immediate disqualification yesterday, Mr Patel said: “This is someone who drives so much during the course of the summer and has to have his car insurance as well.
“He would prefer to keep his licence as clean as possible.”
Bopara, from Chelmsford, Essex, did not attend court after pleading guilty by way of a letter at a previous hearing. His father attended the hearing while he spent the day at a charity function.
Mr Patel told the court the sportsman was actively involved with youth charities and projects.
He said: “Whatever he can do for young people and whatever he can do to be a good role model through charitable work in this area or anywhere around here he would be happy to do so.”
Bopara, who plays county cricket for Essex, already has three points for a traffic signal infringement in 2010, and three for using a mobile phone behind the wheel in 2012.
Magistrates chairman Bob Sparling said: “The law cannot be manipulated to reduce penalty points in any way for offences that are committed.
“The normal strategy for dealing with such an offence for first-time speeding would not be to disqualify, we would normally award penalty points.”
Bopara was given five points, fined £470 and ordered to pay £35 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.