An English estate owner is facing court over an allegation he reached speeds of almost 150mph on the North Coast 500 in a blue Ferrari.
Piers Monckton, who owns the Stretton Estate in England, is facing a charge of dangerous driving, alleging he reached an eye-watering 145mph on the A838 road, part of the popular Highland road trip route.
‘Not guilty’ plea to driving charge
The 59-year-old Old Etonian, whose family seat is the Grade II listed Stretton Hall stately home in Staffordshire, denies a charge of dangerous driving.
It is alleged the incident took place at the road’s junction with Ardmore between Laxford Bridge and Tongue on May 26 of last year.
Monckton, who is said to have a net worth of close to £10 million and understood to be an heir to the Viscount Galway, is now set to stand trial later this year at Tain Sheriff Court.
The charge comes as a result of Operation Cedar, a police campaign targeting drivers on the roads of the NC500 last May in response to concerns from locals about driver behaviour on the heavily promoted Highland tourist route, which has featured on hit driving shows The Grand Tour and Top Gear.
During the two-day operation last May, officers from the road policing unit carried out patrols along the north-west coast, stopping a total of 57 vehicles for 27 alleged offences from MOT and insurance offences to speeding and dangerous driving.
Speaking at the time, PC Lewis Macleod, from the roads unit, said: “We focused our operation on the roads that form part of the North Coast 500 following concerns expressed by local residents, businesses and associated groups.
Police committed to NC500 road safety
“These proactive patrols highlight our commitment to improving road safety across the Highlands and islands. We want to reassure communities that we are responding to their concerns whilst improving road safety and reducing collisions.”
The tourist route is a popular destination for motoring fans, with some supercar drivers tempted to flout the speed limits on its winding roads. Earlier this year four men were banned from the roads for careless driving after reaching speeds of 95mph in their high performance vehicles on a section of the route near Glencarron.
If found guilty of this offence, which he denies, Monckton, whose address given in court papers as Stretton Hall, Staffordshire, would have the dubious honour of being amongst the fastest speeders recorded in Scotland.
Figures from 2018 show the highest speed recorded that year as 141mph, while in 2009 a motorcyclist was clocked doing 166mph in a 60mph zone.