Two-year-old was passenger in 80mph car

A Dounreay fitter, who drove at speeds of up to 80mph on a main north route, had his two-year-old daughter in the back of the car, a sheriff heard yesterday.

Alexander Elder, 28, was tracked by police filming on their web-cam as he went on to exceed a second speed limit after overtaking a vehicle on the Wick-Thurso road. He was eventually stopped by the officers whom he had mistaken for "another idiot tailing him" having been followed earlier.

Elder admitted driving carelessly and breaking 60mph and 30mph speed limits, on August 28, last year. He was banned from driving for six weeks and fined 375.

The night-time footage, recorded by the police on their dashboard camera, was replayed to Wick Sheriff Court which included Elder overtaking a car at speed on the A882. Elder co-operated fully with officers who observed that the child was properly restrained in an appropriate seat.

Solicitor Duncan Burd said that there was no urgency for the accused to get to his destination and made the point that he was not driving consistently at excessive speeds throughout his journey to Wick but during "lapses". He had overtaken a car on a straight stretch of road when the way ahead was clear. Elder's employment had recently gone onto an on-call basis and his licence was essential.

Mr Burd added that Elder, of 5 Seaforth Place, Thurso, had since fitted a 'gadget' to his car designed to alert him if he exceeded the speed limit.

Sheriff Andrew Berry commented, however, that the accused could tell his speed from his speedometer. The sheriff added that Elder's record "did not paint a pretty picture" and there had to be consequences for his latest offence.