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Bike confiscated for filtering

Published: 29 June 2009

An MCN reader has told how police gave him a warning under anti-social behaviour laws for filtering - and confiscated his bike the second time round.

Reginald Austin, 45, from Liverpool, says he was overtaking slow-moving traffic in Prestatyn, North Wales, when police stopped him and issued a warning under Section 59 Police Reform Act for causing ‘distress or annoyance’.

Because there was no penalty he did not contest the notice and forgot about it – until a year later, on June 9, when he was stopped again in Liverpool and told his Yamaha R1 would be seized.

This time Austin had been filtering at a pedestrian crossing.

That would be an offence if he had overtaken the vehicle nearest the crossing but he insists: “I stopped alongside a bus at the front of the queue but I never ended up ahead of it. I was level with the cab.

“The officer ordered me to get in his car and said: ‘You’ve previously been warned under Section 59 of the Police Reform Act. I’m seizing your bike.’ He said I’d be charged with careless driving.

"I was left at the roadside with my 20-year-old son, who had been pillion. I felt mugged and robbed.

"The officer refused to even give me a receipt for the bike. I had to pay £150 to get it back.”

Austin’s solicitor Robbie Towner said: “It appears the police are taking powers designed for one thing and using them for another.

"I believe they were designed to tackle off-road riding in parks. I don’t think they’re designed for taking £5,000 motorcycles from the road.

“We don’t know whether the police plan to take further action. I’ve been trying to get hold of the officer who seized the bike but have so far not been able to.”

Inspector  Mark  Pennington of Merseyside Police said: "Section 59 Warnings are  issued  under  the  Police  Reform  Act against drivers that have been stopped  after  using their vehicle in an anti-social manner. This includes careless  and  inconsiderate  driving  and  driving  that is causing, or is likely  to cause, alarm, distress or annoyance to members of the public. An officer  may  seize and have the vehicle removed after they have warned the person using it.

"We are continuing to hit home the message that anyone who owns a vehicle has a duty to know exactly what the law is in relation to their use - otherwise they run the risk of facing prosecution as well as losing their vehicle."

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