Birmingham & Black Country

Men filmed racing at 134mph near Birmingham spared jail

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Three drivers filmed racing at up to 134mph (215km/h) have been spared jail.

CCTV footage showed Amar Paul, 27, Tejinder Bhuee, 24, and Zafar Iqbal, 33, driving two Mercedes cars and a VW Golf on a damp road surface through roadworks at up to 100mph (160km/h).

They were banned from driving for 12 months, fined and given community service and suspended prison terms at Birmingham Crown Court.

Road safety charity Brake said it was "shocking" they had escaped jail.

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BBC correspondent Phil Mackie said the corporation understood West Midlands Police was unhappy with the leniency of the sentence.

Height 'of dangerous driving'

Dash-cam footage of the race was recorded by an unmarked patrol car during a campaign targeting reckless road-users on the A38 near Minworth, West Midlands, at about 21:15 GMT on 5 March.

The judge at Birmingham Crown Court, Recorder Christopher Tickle, said the three men had been "responsible" by indicating to change lanes.

But Brake spokesman Jason Wakeford said: "It's shocking that these defendants escaped jail time because no-one was killed or injured."

Prosecutor Richard Franck told the court: "This is dangerous driving, in our submission, at its most dangerous."

Paul, from Berrow Drive in Edgbaston, Birmingham; Bhuee, of Fitzroy Avenue, Harborne, Birmingham, and Iqbal, of Victoria Road, Oldbury, West Midlands, admitted charges of dangerous driving and street racing at a previous hearing.

'Normally sensible clients'

The three were given six-month prison terms suspended for two years, fined £750 and ordered to perform 100 hours of unpaid work.

West Midlands Police PC Mark Hodson, said: "At the last hearing a judge told them to expect custodial sentences.

"Collectively we need to send out a strong message that it's not acceptable for selfish drivers to use public roads as their own private race tracks and put other motorists in danger."

The judge told the men offences had breached an injunction banning car cruising in parts of the West Midlands.

Their "manic" driving at speeds of up to 130mph on an empty section of carriageway had been short-lived, the judge added.

Defence barristers said the men had pulled over as soon as they were able as they entered a section of roadworks.

Marcus Kraehling-Smith, representing Paul and Bhuee, said his clients were hard-working young men who were normally sensible, responsible people.

Frank Dillon, mitigating for Iqbal, said the mechanic had been driving a Mercedes acquired on finance and had only exceeded the speed limit for a brief period of time.

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