A NEWPORT businessman caught speeding on Chepstow Road tried to “falsely incriminate” another man but was caught out as a photograph showed him behind the wheel, a court heard.

When John Bristow, 53, received a fixed penalty notice he sent it back claiming Ivars Pilius, a man who once worked for him, had been driving.

But Mr Pilius, who did not know about Bristow’s attempt to pervert the course of justice, was not even in the UK at the time of the offence, Newport Crown Court heard.

Bristow, of Beechwood Crescent, was driving his Audi estate car at 36mph along 30mph Chepstow Road in Newport when the camera picked him up at 11.32am on January 9 last year.

He denied the offence and sent a form back to the Central Ticket Office claiming Ivars Pilius, of York Place, had been driving.

When the authorities tried several times to contact Mr Pilius to confirm this they received no response as Bristow actually owned the York Place address.

Police contacted DVLA and found they had no record of Mr Pilius.

After comparing photographs from the speed camera and from Bristow’s driving licence it became “immediately apparent” that the speeding driver had been Bristow, said Jonathan Bushell, prosecuting.

In a police interview Bristow at first continued to maintain Mr Pilius had been driving, saying he had lent him the car to drive to a garden centre.

He only “realised the game was up” when confronted with the photographic evidence, said Mr Bushell.

“He intended to falsely incriminate Ivars Pilius. There was no agreement and Mr Pilius would have been ultimately prosecuted.”

Bristow is the landlord of 12 properties, as well as owning delivery business Bristow and Sons, pulling in an annual income of £30,000 to £35,000 a year, the court was told.

As he had only six penalty points at the time of the offence, the additional points from the speeding offence last year would not have lost him his licence, the court heard.

Bristow pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice.

Recorder Peter Griffiths QC said the case had caused “an awful lot of wasted police time”.

He said: “What’s coming through loud and clear is that he’s been an absolute fool.”

The court heard Bristow had been experiencing personal problems at the time of the offence.

Sentencing Bristow, Recorder Griffiths QC said: “Testimonials clearly show you as essentially a decent, law abiding man. Unfortunately you committed a very serious offence.”

He imposed a six-month prison sentence, suspended for one year, ordered Bristow to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and told him he must pay £1,000 in costs and a victim surcharge of £80.