Heathfield Butcher jailed in Operation Pinocchio
Local butcher, Terry Adams, of the popular Butcher’s Hook in Heathfield has received a prison sentence after he was caught perverting the course of justice as part of Operation Pinocchio. Pinocchio was launched by Sussex Police, as an initiative to improve safety on Sussex’s roads, by tracing and prosecuting offenders who provide false information in an attempt to avoid prosecution. The other aim was to raise awareness amongst law-abiding motorists, who may not be aware of the seriousness of committing what is a criminal offence, by attempting to avoid speeding or red light offences.
Adams lied about three speeding offences and paid his friend £1,000 to take the blame for two of them after being caught exceeding the same 30mph speed limit on three separate occasions across Sussex in 2018.
He was sent a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) following an incident in Hailsham Road, Heathfield, on 28 October, and he nominated another driver, Dec Davies of Horam, who knew nothing about it. Previous to this, he had nominated his friend Lee Surridge for two speeding offences committed at the same site on 15 May 2018. Surridge attended a Speed Awareness Course for one and was given a fine for the other. The extent of the deception was confirmed when Dec Davies was called in for a Police Interview in relation to the speeding offence that he had been nominated for. He confirmed that he had no knowledge of the offence, and Police photographic evidence revealed Adams was in fact the driver responsible for all of the three offences.
Both Adams and Sturridge were subsequently arrested on 20 May 2019 and taken into custody. The suspects were charged with perverting the course of justice and pleaded guilty at Lewes Crown Court on Friday 2 August.
Adams, 49, was sentenced to a custodial sentence of 10 months’ imprisonment for each offence, to run concurrently. He was also disqualified from driving for 17 months and ordered to pay a £140 victim surcharge. Surridge, 51, a butcher, of Bexhill Road, St Leonards, was sentenced to 12 weeks’ imprisonment – suspended for 12 months – and ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work, and pay £500 costs and a £140 victim surcharge. His earlier guilty plea was taken into account on sentencing.
Chris Raynor, of the Sussex Police Camera and Ticket Process Team, said: “This case shows how some people are prepared to avoid their responsibilities for speeding offences at all costs. They involve other people in their attempt to avoid prosecution, including nominating innocent people, and have little regard for the problems it causes.”