A 33 year-old van owner escaped a hefty tax disc fine after proving to police his certificate was eaten by a snail.
Jon Roles found a £100 penalty notice for failing to display a tax disc stuck on to the front of a broken down van he was tasked with picking up. But on closer inspection, he discovered the real culprit for the missing certificate was a hungry mollusc, munching the last of the paper disc.
Jon's dad Steve, who helps out at his son's garage in Yeovil, Somerset, contested the fine on behalf of the van's owner, who had paid his tax. But suspicious police upheld the fine - until the pair sent them a photo of the cheeky snail dining on the dashboard.
Steve, 70, said: 'I had a bit of a chuckle as I just couldn’t believe what I saw. Snails like glue and ink so maybe that’s why it ate the disc. 'It was very much a "the dog ate my homework" moment, but we still had the penalty notice to deal with.'
Steve, of J H Norman and Sons Ltd, said he felt it was their duty to contest the fine because the van was in their care when it got the fine.
He added: 'I suggested we talk to the police and we explained the situation but they weren’t too keen to see the evidence.
'They said it was still an offence as the disc was not properly displayed.'
He wrote to the police to explain the situation further - and this time included photos of the snail. Thankfully, Avon and Somerset Police waived the fine with a light hearted joke about the real offender.
In a letter, a member of the central ticket office said:
“After consideration of all the facts I have decided to excuse payment of the fixed penalty.Please feel free to interrogate the offender, preferably with a teaspoon of salt. Merry Christmas.”
Sadly, the stuffed snail died after his huge meal. Mr Roles said: 'Perhaps it just ate too much tax.'
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