Jailed: Ferrari salesman who used laser jammer to scramble York speed cameras

The BMW driven by Nicholas Burke, fitted with a laser jammer. Photographs: Handout by North Yorkshire Police
4 Apr 2019 @ 4.36 pm
| Crime, News

A supercar salesman has been jailed after fitting a laser jammer to his company car to avoid getting points on his licence.

Nicholas Burke, of The Green in Stillingfleet, York, was caught using the device to scramble a signal from a North Yorkshire Police safety camera van.

The 46-year-old was sent to prison for two months by a judge at York Crown Court today (Thursday, 4 April) after pleading guilty to perverting the course of justice .

Burke, who has since resigned from his job at a Ferrari dealership in Leeds, was driving on Greengales Lane, a rural road between the villages of Wheldrake and Elvington on the outskirts of York last February.

Prevented a reading

This shows the front sensor of the jamming equipment
Police believe his company-owned BMW 335D was traveling in excess of the 60mph speed limit at the time.

The ‘Laser Elite’ laser jammer prevented a reading being taken, but activated a code on the safety camera that indicated to police that a device was being used illegally.

Officers launched an investigation, as the law forbids the use of laser jammers to interfere with official speed measuring equipment.

The vehicle was seized and when it was examined a jammer was found to be installed on it. When Burke was interviewed about the matter he admitted to having a laser jammer which he said he arranged to have fitted as he was worried about getting points on his licence.

Greengales Lane winding out from Wheldrake. Photograph © Google Street View

Traffic Constable Andy Forth, who led the investigation for North Yorkshire Police, said:

  • As Burke’s prison sentence shows, the courts take a very dim view of people who use jammer devices to pervert the course of justice.

    As such, we have a duty to investigate when we think someone has used one illegally and we will uphold the law. So if you use one of these devices in North Yorkshire there’s a very strong chance you’ll be caught.

    The purpose of our enforcement fleet is to reduce road casualties.

    Therefore to use such devices to interfere with speed enforcement – one of the main four causes of fatal and serious-injury collisions – increases the risk to everyone else who uses the county’s roads, and the communities they represent.

Impact statement

The laser jammer fitted to the vehicle
For the first time, North Yorkshire Police submitted a community impact statement to the court, to highlight the importance of its road safety work.

In the statement, read by the judge, the force said:

  • North Yorkshire has historically suffered from a high number of road traffic collisions, unfortunately resulting in the loss of life or resulting in life-changing injuries to users of the vehicles involved…

    It is not only the victim who suffers, but families, witnesses and communities.

    The primary purpose of safety camera vans is to reduce road traffic collisions by enforcing a range of road traffic offences such as speeding, using a mobile phone and failing to wear a seat belt.

    These are three of the four main causation factors for fatal and serious-injury collisions on our roads.

The police have detected an increasing number of vehicles fitted with laser jamming devices.