Police officer apologises to father-of-four after trailer offence error

Gareth Whiting's Vauxhall Zafira and trailer which led to him being issued with a false traffic offence report on the A47.

Gareth Whiting's Vauxhall Zafira and trailer which led to him being issued with a false traffic offence report on the A47. - Credit: Contributed

Police have issued an apology and paid £20 to a man who was issued a traffic offence report in error. 

Gareth Whiting, 42, of Sutton, near Stalham, was stopped on the A47 just after the Ipswich Road junction when heading towards Great Yarmouth at around 2.15pm on Tuesday, June 22. 

Mr Whiting was towing a box trailer with his Zafira when he was stopped by officers and informed he was not allowed to tow the trailer on his licence. 

He was reported for the offence and a friend had to pick up the trailer from the side of the road. 

But following an investigation, a spokeswoman for Norfolk Police has now confirmed the traffic order offence was falsely issued.

She said: "We can confirm an investigation was launched after we received a complaint following a vehicle stop on the A47. A traffic offence report [TOR] was issued in error. The officer has since apologised to the driver and the TOR has been redacted." 

Mr Whiting added that he had also received £20 to cover the cost of paying his friend to pick up the trailer.

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After being stopped, Mr Whiting said: "After doing some research the police were wrong. I passed my test in 2006, and the DVLA [ Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency] says I can pull a trailer over 750kg as long as the car and trailer are not more than 3,500kg.

"My rating plate on my car is 2,150kg and my trailer is 1,200kg, which is less than the 3,500kg.

"As I left the police I felt really bad, that I could have lost my car and trailer.

"I use the family car for morning and afternoon school runs, for four children. My 12-year-old son has ASD [Autism Spectrum Disorders]. I was thinking on the way home if the police seized my car, what would I do?" 

Mr Whiting shared an email he had been sent on July 5 by the officer who stopped him on June 22.

It said: "I believe I made a genuine mistake in mis-interpreting your weight of your towing vehicle. I wish to apologise for this error and hope you accept in good faith."