TOPS NEWS May 2008

Lord Brocket, of Ferrari insurance scandal, has been back in the news for collecting the excrement his neighbour’s dogs kept leaving outside his house, and posting it back through the letterbox with a note saying he was returning his property.  The police were called and said it was very thoughtful of him to return it.  Several Councils are launching 1,000 covert surveillance operations a month to investigate petty offences such as dog fouling.

The AA patrolman on his motorbike has returned to the streets in order to speed up repairs and keep the traffic moving. 

Speeding drivers in south China are getting away, thanks to machines which switch the numbers on their licence plates in seconds.  The price of the remote-control device starts at $115. 

German police are looking for thieves who stole 1½ miles of armco from the central reservation of the busy A6 motorway in Vierheim near Frankfurt.

The Grands Prix of France and Spain have joined forces for the first ever joint promotional ticket package in F1 history. The deal means that F1 fans can attend two races using a special discounted double ticket.

Car cleaners at a Russian firm got a surprise when they emptied a vacuum cleaner and found a diamond pendant worth  €300,000.

Bremen has become the first state in Germany to introduce a speed limit on its motorways.    The 120 kph limit in Bremen will only affect  60 km of road because the city State is so small.  German motorways were built without speed limits by the Nazis, and since World War II the influential car industry has lobbied hard against introducing the kind of rules which are standard practice in other European countries.

Police were called to control hundreds of drivers  at a BP station in Wilmington, N.C.  when the pumps were accidentally set at 35 cents a gallon instead of $3.35.  The owners were surprised that customers paid the cheaper price all day without saying a word.

Jack Higgs, 93, was parking outside a Porsche showroom near Cardiff, when his car shot backwards hitting a Carrera II which acted as a ramp, causing his 13-year-old hatchback to flip over on to a Porsche 911.  Staff found Mr Higgs hanging upside down by his seatbelt in his car.  He says he will take the bus in future.

Nottingham County Council has approved the introduction of workplace parking charges from 2010.  Companies with more than 10 spaces will pay £185 p.a. for each space, rising to £350 p.a. in 2014.

The London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is to join Porsche as an interested party in the judicial review of the proposed £25 CO2 congestion charge.  Some residents currently paying 80p per day will have to pay £25 or nearly £6,000 a year.

Jean Raine was asleep in her car in a disabled parking area while her driver went shopping for her.  She was correctly parked but her disabled permit was upside down and a traffic warden issued her with a £35 ticket without waking her to explain.  She has to appear in court. 

Chen Yugang, has built a new bicycle which can be ridden face-to-face, conventionally, or back-to-back, as the seats rotate and the gears can be set to move the bike in either direction. 

20 speed humps are to be removed from Great Wyrley in Staffordshire.

Residents who park in their front gardens without obtaining council permission are having their cars blocked in by concrete bollards in Brent and Harrow in north London.

Council chiefs in Windsor hope to remove the majority of double yellow lines within 2-3 years to create more parking spaces.

Mark Nolan of Brisbane, Australia, who stole a police car and drove off while handcuffed, has been re-arrested.   

A stolen Bentley crashed while chased by 3 police cars in Burley, Hampshire. The first police car hit the debris, the second car smashed into the back of the first one and the third swerved to avoid the crash and plunged off the road.  The 5 police officers and 3 youths were all slightly injured.   

From September, Richmond Council is to issue parking permits for school pick-ups at a price determined by engine emission levels.

Under anti-terrorism rules recently introduced, personal data from CCTV cameras can be sent to other countries, this includes vehicle registration, date, time and location seen.  A spokesman from the Home Office “would like to reassure the public that robust controls have been put in place to control and safeguard access to, and use of, the information”.

Rising oil prices are encouraging thieves to siphon diesel and oil from storage tanks and lorries parked over-night.

According to Castrol, 75% of men do not know how to change their oil or top up the water in their cars. 

Watching the “Discovery” programme it was amazing to hear the presenter continually explaining that Stainless Steel was a coating on Steel.

The number of cars owned by British households has increased by 5 million to 27.8 million in the past 10 years.

The New Scientist has found that levels of pollution in the London Congestion Zone has changed little since  the charge came into force.  

The number of parking tickets has risen by 300% in five years.  In 2005 wardens issued 3,402,860 tickets – worth around £1 billion.

A campaign has been launched called Fair Deal for Drivers.  Labour wishes to increase fuel duty by a further 2p in the autumn, the treasury already receives 64p from every £1 paid for fuel.  The treasury revenue from motorists is nearly £50 billion with less than £8 billion spent on roads.

Ian Taylor’s Ford Fiesta was registered ‘off road’ but when clampers saw 2” of bumper protruding from his drive they clamped it and demanded £280.  Taylor decided to cut the £50 banger in half and told them they could remove the offending part.  5 police cars with 10 officers and  6 fire crew were called but refused to take any action.  The clampers left without the car. 

Philippe Quint, a violinist who left a 285-year-old Stradivarius in the back of a New York cab has played a concert in the taxi waiting area at Newark International Airport, to thank the driver who returned it to him.

China had confiscated thousands of fake military vehicles and number plates, in a move to crack down on citizens masquerading as privileged members of the People's Liberation Army.

Mr Eccelstone has said that 2008 will be the last F1 race at Magny Cours, instead he is keen to have a GP in Paris or just outside, also in London, if he can persuade the new Mayor, Boris Johnson, to agree (and others!). 

An abridged version of TOPS NEWS

Edited by Trisha Pilkington