VIDEO: Driver who fitted 'siren' to his car to avoid jams narrowly misses cyclist in Northampton

This is the moment a reckless driver nearly mowed down a cyclist at a busy junction in Northampton after fitting his car with a SIREN in order to avoid a traffic jam.

Wednesday, 18th January 2017, 6:07 pm
Updated Thursday, 19th January 2017, 8:27 am
Martin Chapman admitted fitting a siren to his car at Northampton Magistrates Court yesterday (Wednesday). Picture courtesy of South West News.

Martin Chapman, 35, was caught on CCTV dangerously weaving through lines of traffic and driving on the wrong side of the road in his Vauxhall Astra.

Magistrates heard he had fitted his vehicle with flashing blue lights in order to skip the busy jams that built up on Cliftonville Road, in Northampton, on July 6 last year.

He originally claimed he was using the sirens in order to complete "blood runs" as he had applied to work for the NHS Blood Donation Service.

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Martin Chapman admitted fitting a siren to his car at Northampton Magistrates Court yesterday (Wednesday). Picture courtesy of South West News.

But the court heard he had not been trained or used the lights for any legitimate emergency and had been caught on CCTV using the sirens on 37 other occasions.

Yesterday (Wed) Chapman admitted five counts of using a vehicle fitted with a blue warning beacon without permission at Northampton Magistrates' Court.

He was also found guilty of one count of dangerous driving, three counts of not following road markings and five counts of driving a vehicle without insurance.

JPs decided their sentencing powers were insufficient enough and committed the case for sentencing at crown court.

Martin Chapman admitted fitting a siren to his car at Northampton Magistrates Court yesterday (Wednesday). Picture courtesy of South West News.

Chapman, of Long Buckby, was given an interim disqualification from driving pending his sentencing.

Chair of the magistrates, Jackie Shore, said: "Your offence of dangerous driving is so serious that we cannot sentence you here today.

"We watched evidence which clearly shows you at a busy junction where you endangered pedestrians and road users."

Prosecutor Shabbir Issat told the court police were alerted by another motorist who saw the sirens flashing on July 19 last year.

He said: "The member of the public said that it didn't seem right that the blue lights were flashing which is why they phone the police.

"There is CCTV from July 6 where he is coming towards some lights and there are two lanes going one way and one lane going the other.

"There was a cyclist who had to take evasive action after Mr Chapman drove on the wrong side of the road."

PC Ben Wilson, of Northamptonshire Police, described the footage as it was shown to the court.

He said: "You can see the cyclist riding close to the solid white road markings and then clearly see his Astra come at speed with hardly any room for the cyclist to go anywhere.

"He goes through the junction the wrong side of the road.

"He approached the junction at such speed that he didn't give the cyclist a chance to move or the oncoming traffic to move."

In a police interview read to the court, Chapman said: "I have applied to join the Blood Service and the lights are to do blood runs.

"I have got my own transport company which would do urgent blood runs to hospitals."

However, in court Chapman, defending himself, said: "I accept it was me driving on each occasion.

"I am very remorseful of what I did and I appeal for your leniency."

Chapman was granted unconditional bail and will be sentenced at Northampton Crown Court on February 10.

After the case, Janine Smith, chief crown prosecutor for CPS East Midlands said: "The rules of the road exist to protect people and keep everyone safe.

"Martin Chapman's possession of the blue light was a significant responsibility, which he abused on several occasions, putting other road users at risk.

"People who drive emergency vehicles with blue lights are specialists who have been specifically trained to drive in genuine emergencies conditions while ensuring the use of the blue lights and their speed is appropriate for the conditions.

"It is not something that can be taken lightly. It is down to good fortune alone that nobody was hurt as a result of Mr Chapman's driving."