SUNDERLAND AFC’s new star striker Steven Fletcher has been banned from driving after being caught speeding.
The 25-year-old, who was yesterday recalled to the Scotland international squad, was handed a six month ban and fined £1,700 under the totting-up procedure.
A court heard how the star was clocked on camera driving a Range Rover at 77mph on the M42/M6 Toll at Curdworth, in Warwickshire, on January 20, when a 50mph variable speed limit was in force.
He changed his plea to guilty in absence last month, on the day he was due to stand trial.
The case was then adjourned because the bench was considering disqualifying Fletcher, but he did not turn up at court.
Nuneaton magistrates, sitting at Warwickshire Justice Centre in the town, fined him £1,700, plus £500 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.
The court was told that the former Wolves player, who signed for SAFC this year in a £14million deal, already had six points on his licence.
Presiding magistrate Richard Humphries said: “I have to express our great disappointment that Mr Fletcher has not attended court.
“This matter has been adjourned on previous occasions because he has not been able to attend.
“We do not think it is acceptable that just because somebody is a professional footballer they can excuse themselves from the court process.”
The centre-forward is the latest Black Cats star to be punished for speeding.
Earlier this year, striker Nicklas Bendtner was banned from driving for 56 days and fined £660 after he was caught speeding in his Porsche.
The 24-year-old was clocked at 103mph on the Woolsington bypass, near Newcastle Airport, in December.
Newcastle magistrates were told he was on his way to the airport and was late for a flight.
The player, who was on loan from Arsenal and has now joined Italian club Juventus, admitted speeding.
Defender Phil Bardsley was given a fine and six points after being caught speeding for the fourth time by driving at 72mph in a 50mph zone.
The 26-year-old – who has previously served two driving bans – was spotted by a traffic officer on the A690 through West Rainton heading towards Durham.
Peterlee Magistrates’ Court heard Bardsley was in his Audi Q7 DTI 245 when the incident happened at 3pm on Saturday, March 3, the eve of Sunderland’s clash with Newcastle United at the Sports Direct Arena.
Last year, defender Titus Bramble was handed a 12-month driving ban for speeding after a judge chose to sentence him in his absence at St Helens Magistrates’ Court.
The 31-year-old pleaded guilty to two speeding offences in his BMW on a stretch of the M6 between junctions 26 and 27 in Wigan.
The incidents, in which he twice broke a temporary 50mph speed restriction, occurred while he was a player for Wigan Athletic.