A motorist who was caught driving a Porsche at more than twice the 60mph speed limit on a Ross-shire road was given a one-year UK driving ban and a £500 fine yesterday.
Dutchman Esdert Prins admitted doing 130mph on the A832 Garve to Achnasheen road when he appeared at Inverness Sheriff Court yesterday.
However, the sentence was blasted as “meaningless” by road safety campaigners, who said the 39-year-old security firm director would still be able to get behind the wheel when he returns home to the Netherlands.
Margaret Dekker, secretary of Scotland’s Campaign Against Irresponsible Drivers (Scid), said: “This man has endangered himself and other road users and a sentence like that sends out completely the wrong message.”
Prins from Ameide in the Netherlands, was behind the wheel of a friend’s black Porsche 911 sports car when a police patrol saw it on the A832 at Achanalt, near the village of Achnasheen on Sunday.
He and his friend from Banchory, who was a passenger in the vehicle, were on a trip to the west Highlands when Prins put his foot down on the straight stretch of road leading to the railway station.
The vehicle was clocked by a police laser at 130mph.
In court yesterday, Prins admitted driving dangerously on the A832 and passing hazards such as junctions, laybys and sharp bends while the road conditions were damp.
His not guilty pleas to an additional charge that he was driving with no licence or insurance were accepted.
Fiscal depute Fraser Matheson told the court: “It was about 12.55pm on April 12 and police were on mobile patrol in the area.
“They saw a vehicle travelling east and it was obvious that it was travelling in excess of the speed limit.
“The pro-laser recorded it at 130mph. They followed the black Porsche 911 and activated their blue lights. It was noted by the police that the Porsche slowed dramatically after that and pulled in to a nearby lay-by.
“The hazards of that road at that location as outlined in the charge were explained to him and he was charged.”
Defence solicitor Willie Young told Sheriff Margaret Neilson: “My client is on holiday visiting a friend from university and the two were on a road trip to the west Highlands.
“He had taken the role of driver of his friend’s car and was on a straight stretch of road when he was detected by police.
“He expresses his apologies for driving at an excessive speed. He does not have a UK driving licence – only a Dutch one but has been driving for 21 years without incident or conviction and is scheduled to fly back to Holland on Tuesday.”
Ms Dekker said prosecutors had been right to charge Prins with dangerous driving but the sentence was “completely wrong”.
She added: “The ban means absolutely nothing because he will have a Dutch licence and will be able to drive as soon as he goes back over there. He’s only banned from driving in this country.
“A cross-border agreement on bans is something we have been campaigning for at Scid and cases like this highlight why it’s needed
“I’m sure he will be able to stand a £500 fine as well so the sentence is essentially meaningless.”
A police spokesman said: “Speeding is dangerous, costly and unacceptable.
“Police Scotland will continue to focus on irresponsible drivers, to make sure speed limits are acknowledged and that the roads are made safer for people in the Highlands and islands. Speed limits are there for a reason – to keep people safe, and officers will be out ensuring the law is enforced.”