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Police Special used blue flashing light on car to 'play' around in traffic.

An off-duty special policeman fixed a home-made blue flashing light to his car then weaved in and out of traffic for fun on a busy Birmingham road.

Darren Vinnecombe later told police the flashing light - an ordinary red breakdown warning light spray-painted blue - was a plaything he had used twice before.

Birmingham Magistrates' Court heard yesterday that Vinnecombe, who has since quit as a police special, also faced the sack from his maintenance fitter's job at the Rover car plant in Longbridge.

Vinnecombe (22), of Kendal Rise Road, Rednal, pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention and an offence of having a vehicle fitted with a warning beacon.

A charge of dangerous driving, which Vinnecombe denied, was dismissed.

Vinnecombe was fined pounds 300 with pounds 60 costs and his licence was endorsed with six penalty points.

Miss Lukhsana Mohammed, prosecuting, said another driver, Mr Roy Davies, saw Vinnecombe in a G-registration Rover driving along the Bristol Road towards the city centre at 9.45pm on May 21 last year.

"Mr Davies saw the car with a flashing beacon coming up behind him. He thought it was an emergency vehicle and immediately moved to one side," said Miss Mohammed.

She said when Mr Davies saw that the car was not an emergency vehicle he took down the registration number.

Miss Mohammed told the court Vinnecombe was zig-zagging between cars and "tailgating" others until they moved out of the way.

Vinnecombe later admitted in interview: "I put it on to play around. I've only used it twice before. It was a plaything."

He told police he found the light and fitted it into his car.

Mr Alan Newport, defending, said Vinnecombe had been promoted to acting second officer, the equivalent of a sergeant in the police, after two years in the Specials.

He had dreamed of eventually joining the police full-time but had now resigned from the Specials for fear of bringing ill repute on the service.

"The defendant has no previous convictions. He is totally embarrassed," said Mr Newport. He said Vinnecombe was facing a disciplinary hearing at Rover.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jun 5, 1999
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