Delivery driver loses job over false St Albans speeding charge

Paul Kelemen

Paul Kelemen - Credit: Archant

LOSING his job was just one of the consequences a van driver has faced for being wrongly accused of speeding at more than 100mph while delivering goods in St Albans.

At the time a speed camera on Hatfield Road flashed 49-year-old Paul Kelemen he was driving well within the 40mph speed limit.

So when he was sacked on the spot after his boss received a prosecution notice saying he had been caught doing 103mph Paul was left bemused – especially when his van cannot go faster than 70mph.

The former delivery driver, from Barnsley, said: “It was just a normal day at 11.30am, I thought I was doing 32mph when a speed camera flashed me.

“My boss phoned me from work and said ‘You have been done for speeding. You have been recorded at 103mph in a 40mph zone’.

“I explained to him I have a limiter on my van but he said ‘I have got no option but to lay you off from work’.”

Convinced a mistake had been made, Paul contacted Herts Police who within minutes admitted an operator error had occurred.

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Days later he also received an apology letter confirming he was actually travelling along the A1057 near to Wilkins Green Lane at 34mph on the morning in question.

Paul, who could have been taken to court and handed an automatic driving ban for the offence, added: “The word sorry does not mean anything to me.

“They [the police] have just ripped me to pieces. They have taken my livelihood away and it is a horrible feeling.”

Police offered to explain the blunder to his boss but by the time the truth emerged it was too late, as his position had already been filled.

While Paul searches for another job he has had to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance and housing benefit.

He said: “I bet you any money there will be an old couple out there who have got this fine through the door and have been to court and banned from driving for an error.

“In these days it should not happen.”

A spokesman from Herts Police said: “A notice of prosecution was issued in this instance in error.

“As soon as it was brought to our attention, we retracted the notice and apologised to Mr Kelemen.

“We have written to him to confirm that no further action will be taken in respect of the notice and have also offered to write to the company but Mr Kelemen declined this offer. We have also spoken to the employer to explain the situation.

“The subject of his employment is a matter for him and the company.”