The senior judge who locked up the Manchester fraudster known as ‘Catalogue Colin’ for seven years last week, criticised the way Greater Manchester Police publicise court proceedings yesterday.
Judge Roger Thomas QC said he ‘sometimes hardly recognises’ the reports from cases he has overseen because the Greater Manchester Police’s press releases were so distorted.
He said: “Journalists don’t come to court anymore – they just read the GMP press releases.
“There’s always a paragraph at the end from Sergeant Bloggs or Inspector Smith saying what a wonderful job they did.”
Judge Thomas QC went on to criticise bedroom bloggers who comment on cases without having actually attended the hearing.
“I get all sorts of emails from people saying all kinds of things about me and the trouble is most people don’t actually get here,” he added.
“They think people like me are about 80 and live in mansions and have chauffeurs – but it is not true.”
Judge Thomas presided over the case of ‘Catalogue’ Colin Lowndes, who started a lucrative business charging up to £400 to help people avoid speeding fines.
The judge’s comments came after he sentenced a semi-professional footballer, who had used ‘Catalogue Colin’s’ services, to two months in prison.
Lee Turvey, 23, pleaded guilty to perverting the course of public justice after replying to a fixed penalty notice with a fake name 2009.
Turvey, who played for New Mills in Derbyshire, was caught travelling at 52 MPH in a 30 MPH zone and had previously been convicted of affray, robbery and assault.
The judge said he had made an example of this case and issued a warning to any driver considering evading paying a speeding fine.
“Any motorist out there in the public needs to know that they must respond accurately to this notice if they are caught by one of these cameras,” he said.
“If they do act dishonestly, they will find themselves in all probability going into prison.”