Baffled couple issued speeding notice despite being 1,500 miles away on holiday in Spain

The image on the left shows a car with the same registration plate committing the offence and on the right, is Gary and Clare's white Golf GTI
Speed camera images, left, alongside the car, right, belonging to Gary Thornburn and Clare Beards. (Reach)

A couple have been left baffled after they were issued a speeding prosecution notice while they were 1,500 miles away on holiday in Spain.

Gary Thornburn and Clare Beards, from Leeds, left their car with the meet and greet service at Manchester Airport before going to Murcia for 13 days with their children and family friends.

But when they returned, they found a prosecution letter from Greater Manchester Police which said their Golf GTI had been caught during their trip travelling at 55mph in a 30mph zone 11 miles from the airport.

They dropped off their car at Terminal 3's meet and greet on 3 August, then returned home on 16 August, but the police letter claims their vehicle was speeding on Alan Turing Way on 5 August, two days after they left the country.

The letter shows speed camera images of a white Golf GTI with the same number plate committing the offence.

Mr Thornburn and Ms Beards contacted Greater Manchester Police to explain that they were in Spain at the time of the alleged offence.

The prosecution letter telling the couple their car had been spotted speeding at 25 mph over the limit
The prosecution letter from Greater Manchester Police informing Gary Thornburn and Clare Beards their car has been caught doing 55mph in a 30mph zone. (Reach)

Manchester Airport claimed the vehicle was taken to a safe compound by its meet and greet staff on 3 August and remained there for the entirety of the couple's trip. The airport also said the car in the speed camera photo is different to the couple's vehicle.

Mr Thornburn said: "I came home (on 16 August) just before midnight. We opened the post and my wife came in and said I had a speeding fine from 5 August, but I said it can't have been either of us as we were away then.

"We had dropped the car off at Terminal 3 on Wednesday the 3rd, at around 10pm. I knew they would transport it elsewhere to a safe location. We used the official meet and greet firm as we wanted to make sure the car was looked after because it was very expensive.

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Brooke, Clare, Gary, Amanda(ctr), Grace, Millie
Gary Thornburn, top centre, and Clare Beards, left centre, were on holiday in Spain for 13 days with their children and family friends. (Reach)

"I wouldn't have ever thought somebody would've been driving around in it going at such a speed. It's a criminal offence and extremely dangerous going 55mph in a 30 zone.

"I have used meet and greet firms before and never had an issue. I knew they take the cars off site to somewhere else, but you don't think you'll be accused of speeding 11 miles away from the airport."

A spokesman for Manchester Airport said: "We are aware that a customer who booked Meet & Greet car parking at Manchester Airport has received a notice of intended prosecution from Greater Manchester Police, which relates to an alleged speeding offence that took place while they were on holiday.

“We understand this would be distressing for the customer concerned, and launched an immediate investigation after being notified. This investigation has indicated the car that was booked in with us remained in a secure storage area until it was collected by the customer on their return. The key to the vehicle was also securely stored throughout.

“Further investigations indicate the vehicle shown in the speed camera image is different to the one that was left with us. While the customer concerned has not made a complaint to Manchester Airport, we have made several attempts to speak with them directly, in order to share our findings and remain eager to do so, as well as assisting the police in any enquiries they wish to make into the matter.

“We want to assure customers that there are a number of strict security measures in place to monitor the whereabouts of vehicles left with us and ensure they are kept safe at all times.”

Greater Manchester Police refused to comment.