Councillor’s ‘nine months of hell’ over quad bike no insurance accusation as case is dropped

A Sunderland city councillor says he has been through nine months of hell after being accused of allowing youngsters to use an uninsured quad bike.

Wednesday, 23rd June 2021, 5:00 pm
Coun Phil Tye
Coun Phil Tye

Silksworth ward member Phil Tye says he is planning to make a formal complaint over police handling of the case.

He and co-accused Andrew Laverick were due before South Tyneside Magistrates on Tuesday, June 22.

Cllr Tye, of Castlereagh Street, Silksworth, and Mr Laverick, of Bedford Place, Silksworth, were due to answer a charge of permitting multiple persons of age 16 and under to use a motor vehicle at the King George Playing Fields, in Palgrove Road, Pennywell, on Friday, October 22, last year.

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But the charges were discontinued and the cases against the pair dismissed.

“I have been put through hell for the last nine months,” said Cllr Tye.

"I am really, really, really unhappy with Northumbria Police. At the moment, I am not able to say anything further than that because I certainly will be pursuing a complaint against a number of officers.

"I absolutely will be pursuing them through the formal complaints procedure.”

The charges relate to a multi-agency event at which Cllr Tye and Mr Laverick were present as representatives of the Youth Almighty community group.

Cllr Tye said: "It is something we had always done with young people – at no point did any young people ride that quad.

"That was not disputed, despite what the allegation was. We were invited to go there.

“The kids would jump on the quad, get their photo taken and have a chat with us. There was never any doubt by anyone that that this quad was turned off and not running.”

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Cllr Tye said the issue of insurance had not been raised at the time of the event

He said: “At no point did anyone ask for insurance. They asked for no documentation in relation to this vehicle.”

Several weeks after the event – in November last year – he was contacted by police about the event.

He said: “I received a phone call in November, asking me to come to Southwick and be interviewed. We were really, really confused as to why we were there.

"The concern was that a child having their photo taken on the unmoving quad could could have fallen and had an accident.

"We had public liability insurance and we had vehicle insurance and pillion passenger insurance to use the quad on the road – that was not in dispute."

The pair only found out at the last minute that charges were being dropped.

He is disappointed not to have had his day in court and said: “The public should have the opportunity to ask what this is about.”

A Northumbria Police spokesperson said: "Following a full and thorough investigation, a file of evidence was prepared and a case presented to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) against two individuals.

“However, we have since been notified by the CPS that due to evidential difficulties the case has been discontinued and we respect that decision.”

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