Suffolk landowner is fined for careless driving and jumping red light

Ipswich Magistrates Court on Elm Street

Sir Charles Blois was convicted at Suffolk Magistrates' Court in Ipswich - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

A major Suffolk landowner has been left with a bill of more than £1,400 after he was convicted of driving without due care and attention and jumping a red light. 

Magistrates heard how Sir Charles Blois, 81, squeezed past an unmarked police car at a roundabout on the outskirts of Ipswich on March 15, 2019, before undertaking single file queuing traffic. 

Sir Charles, of Red House Farm, Westleton, near Saxmundham, who was behind the wheel of his Toyota MR2 kit car, then weaved across three lanes from the left to turn right at the next roundabout, the court heard. 

Sir Charles Blois on his land at Tobys Walk Blythburgh

Sir Charles Blois pictured on his land at Blythburgh back in 2004 - Credit: OWEN HINES

Giving evidence at the trial, PC Dominic Woodmansee, who was in an unmarked Ford Fiesta, described how he flashed his warrant card at Sir Charles when he pulled up alongside him at the roundabout in Martlesham Heath. 

PC Woodmansee asked Sir Charles: "What are you doing?" but was then sworn at, magistrates heard. 

The officer continued to follow Sir Charles onto the A12 northbound and again tried to get him to stop at the Seckford roundabout by beeping his horn and flashing his warrant card, the court heard. 

But Sir Charles continued and PC Woodmansee said he always remained several cars behind the Toyota and confirmed no sirens were used and it was never a pursuit. 

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Along the A12, Sir Charles also went through a set of temporary traffic lights by overtaking two cars who were waiting for the lights to change, the court heard. 

PC Woodmansee called through to colleagues for a marked police car to stop Sir Charles and eventually he was pulled over by uniformed officers near his home. 

Giving evidence, Sir Charles said he told the two female officers who stopped him that he was "frightened of the man following him" and "felt vulnerable". 

Sir Charles said he believed he was being followed by an "aggressive man" and did not want a confrontation. 

Sir Charles denied swearing at PC Woodmansee and claimed there was enough space for him to get past the officer at the roundabout as the car was further to the left of the lane than was described. 

He also denied cutting across three lanes of traffic to turn right at the roundabout. 

Sir Charles admitted jumping the red light and told magistrates he did it to get away from PC Woodmansee, who he did not know was a police officer.

But magistrates found Sir Charles guilty of driving without due care and attention and failing to comply with traffic light signals. 

He previously pleaded guilty to driving the Toyota without a valid MOT. 

Sir Charles was fined a total of £590 for the three offences, and ordered to pay costs of £775 and a victim surcharge of £59. 

He was also handed three points on his licence. 

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