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It wheelie wasn’t him: Worksop man cleared of ‘no insurance’ driving offence

Nottingham Magistrates Court.
Nottingham Magistrates Court.

A motorcyclist turned heads when he did a wheelie along the pavement in a housing estate.

Two police community support officers saw the stunt and reckoned that Nicholas Umpleby was the rider, a court heard.

Soon after the bike came up behind them while they were waiting at traffic lights on Retford Road, Worksop.

Andrew Carter, who is now a police constable, said he was convinced it was Mr Umpleby, 30, of Hardwick Road East in the town.

The machine was revved loudly and Mr Umpleby’s face was visible under his helmet, until he pulled down some orange goggles.

“He jeered at us, he waved at us,” said PC Carter, who noted that the rider also made a crude sign before heading off into the town centre. His colleague PC Daniel Gilbert said: “He was on a bike, on a pavement doing a wheelie. When he was turning around, he pulled his goggles down and tried to cover his face.”

But Mr Umpleby said that it was a case of mistaken identity and told Nottingham Magistrates’ Court: “I don’t own a bike, I can’t ride a bike. It was not me.”

He denied using a motorbike without insurance on Hardwick Road West, Worksop, on May 27 last year.

On that morning, he said he put up a gazebo for a party at a friend’s home and then organised a barbecue.

“All I did was drink,” said Mr Umpleby. He told the court that he has a driving job and a van, saying: “My insurance is my livelihood.”

Katie Taylor told the court she was among the party guests and spent most of her time with Mr Umpleby and his partner. She explained: “I’m a friend of his missus.”

District Judge Tim Spruce found Mr Umpleby not guilty and said: “I have to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt, in layman’s terms, it means ‘sure.’

“I am satisfied the officers are being honest, but honest witnesses can be mistaken.”

Mr Spruce said there was “some evidence in support of that alibi” that Mr Umpleby was at the party all day.

As he prepared to leave court, Mr Umpleby said: “No worries.”