TOPS NEWS January 2012


Police chased a burglar on to West Lancs golf course but despite use of their helicopter and several ‘borrowed’ golf buggies, he escaped.

Taqmmy Oneal was charged with  endangering the welfare of a child by letting her 9-year-old son drive her car to school.  

People parking at Didcot Parkway railway station in Oxfordshire  say they are being fined £80 for not keeping within the white lines which are too small for a medium sized car.   The British Parking Association said it would investigate the situation.

Wine maker Duncan Schwab stopped his van by a burning car in Totnes and was immediately assaulted by a policeman who leapt from a hedge, broke his car window and tasered him in the shoulder.  The police were investigating a stolen car which had crashed into a house setting it on fire.  The CPS dropped the case against Schwab in the High Court.

Commuters travelling on the morning rush hour train from Saunderston, Bucks to London have been told that the train has been fitted with an extra carriage which makes it too long for the platform and it now cannot stop at the station at all.

Italian tax officials arrived at the ski resort of Cortina d’Ampezzo at Christmas and checked the declared income of owners of 133 luxury cars such as Lamborghini and Ferrari.  A third had claimed incomes of under £18,200 p.a.  The investigation continues.

Churches in Southampton and Winchester have resorted to clamping cars in their free car parks if the drivers are not in the Church.  They have been told it is unchristian but their hearses were unable to get to the church door.

A solicitor and a special constable reversed the wrong way on a slip road of the M1 in order to use a lavatory.  The driver escaped penalty points on appeal but was fined £75

The DVLA intends to increase the fee of £2.50 it charges for supplying motorists’ names and addresses to wheel clampers and private parking companies.  Last year the agency sold details of 1m motorists to more than 150 parking enforcement companies.

The British government's Serious Fraud Office is looking into whether to conduct an investigation into the Ecclestone bribery allegations which have emerged in the ongoing trial of German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky.

A new £280,000 footbridge in Weymouth may have to be closed after metal thieves took sections of the handrails.  Metal thieves have also stolen three 80-year-old grass rollers from Weston Cricket Club near Crewe.  8 incidents of railway cable theft are reported per day and legislation is likely to be brought in requiring metal dealers to obtain proof of identity from sellers.

There have been numerous thefts of cooking oil from restaurants in Hertfordshire.  It can be converted to a fuel able to power any car capable of running on bio-diesel.   The Centre for Alternative Technology in Powys runs courses in engine conversion and home-brewing bio-diesel using chip fat and vegetable oil.

A Government review has recommended that any new motorways should be funded privately and has plans for a series of toll roads.

Accountant Graham Mildn has been fined £150 for his incorrectly spaced personal number plate WILDN which should have at least 33 mm between W1 and LDN.  He lost at Crown Court and now intends to try the High Court.  TOPS has reported on the legislation over number plates for several years.

A family who moved 175 yards down the road in Highley village, Shropshire had their car insurance doubled because their post code changed.

The AA claims that petrol prices in the South-East are 2p more a litre than in the North and diesel is also 2p more than petrol

A bus driver refused to allow a boy of 11 to board because his smart card had snapped.  He had to walk home in the dark.

Starbucks are to open 200 ‘drive-thru’s in Britain over the next 5 years.

Triumph sold 50,000 bikes in the last year (up 7%) and is Britain’s biggest motorcycle maker.  It plans to launch a range of new models in 2012.  

Sam Jackson fitted his Yamaha R6 with a tracking device; when it was stolen he contacted the police and told them where it was but they were unable to help as it was unclear which of the two lock-up garages the bike was in.

Ministers are still considering raising the speed limit to 80 mph on dual carriageways as well as motorways.

Exports of Jaguar, Land Rover and Mini continue to rise.  Tata may begin making Jaguar Land Rover cars in India and China.

Belgium's postal service has asked its 2000 delivery men to hand back the batteries on their electric bicycles after several of them exploded.   They are unhappy at having to pedal without help!

From April 2012 new MOT rules come into force e.g mandatory working speedometer with lighting.  Details can be found on

Average speed cameras on the M4 J30 caught 6657 motorists in 2009.

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars sold 3,538 cars in 2011, an increase of 31% over 2010 and the highest sales in its 107 year history.

A Zetor tractor has been given to Dorset police to help them with Farm Watch and Horse Watch schemes – more than 1000 farms have signed up to the network in Somerset and in Devon and Cornwall 2,500 have signed for Farm Watch and 1000 for Horse Watch.

There are now more than 2,500 civilian approved  ‘snoopers’ under the ‘Community Safety Accreditation Scheme’ who have many rights including stopping vehicles for roadside tests and handing out on-the-spot fines.  They have a uniform and badge but are not accountable to the police. The group ‘Big Brother Watch’ has condemned the scheme brought in by the Labour Government in 2002.


Abridged version of TOPS NEWS sent to members, edited by Trisha Pilkington