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Young mum unaware of fake plates on new car

A MOTHER-of-two was found driving while disqualified with false number plates on her car, Enniskillen Magistrates Court heard on Monday.
Lara Coyle (30) of New Street in Ederney appeared before the court where she pleaded guilty to charges of driving while disqualified and without insurance but contested a third charge of fraudulently using number plates.
The court heard from a police constable who had been on duty at Manoo Road in Kesh at 2.50pm on September 12th. He stopped Coyle who was driving a burgundy Vauxhall Vectra. When asked to produce her driving documents, Coyle said she did not have them and it was discovered that she had been disqualified for six months the previous month.
Coyle was cautioned but made no reply and the policeman noted that the VIN serial number visible at the bottom of the windscreen was covered by a piece of paper. Further checks found that this did not correspond with the vehicle registration number plates on the car which was subsequently seized by police. In a notebook interview at the scene, Coyle was asked why she was driving while disqualified and replied: “I had to collect my kids” and added that she didn’t know why the vehicle registration plate and VIN on the windscreen did not match. Coyle told police that she had bought the vehicle two months previously via Gumtree from a “Paddy from Belfast” but couldn’t provide any further details although she had signed the logbook.
Coyle took to the stand and told the court that she accepted she had been driving uninsured and while disqualified on the date in question. She admitted being too afraid to say who she had bought the car off at the time of her interview but revealed she had purchased it from a Patrick Thompson.
“He was putting pressure on me to buy the car as I didn’t have one at the time. He kept calling at the house so I bought the car to stop the pressure. I had a look at the car at the time but didn’t make a note of the registration number.
“When I bought the car, Patrick Thompson filled out the log book and I signed it but didn’t look at it in great detail at the time. I took a photo of him filling out the log book – he was seeing a friend of mine at the time. I didn’t know that the number plates were wrong until the police detected it or about the VIN until I got the court summons.”
After hearing the evidence, District Judge Nigel Broderick said the case was “fairly suspicious”. However he said Coyle had struck him a credible witness and dismissed the fraud charge but convicted her on the remaining two.
Coyle was fined a total of £365 and disqualified from driving for six months.
“If you ever get into a vehicle again, make sure you do so legally and properly. If you do this again, it will not be a fine the next time,” the judge warned her.

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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