Ex-detective: ‘It doesn’t pay to leave an accident’

Sidmouth Town Councillor Chris Gibbings

Sidmouth Town Councillor Chris Gibbings - Credit: Archant

A former detective sergeant has warned drivers who speed off from accidents that the past will catch up with them – after police prosecuted when his vehicle was damaged in a Sidmouth car park.

Chris Gibbings, also once a town and district councillor, would have had to foot the £600 bill to fix his year-old Land Rover if not for a helpful witness.

He is now warning other drivers who leave the scene of an accident that they face similar consequences to the woman who hit his car – a fine, points on her licence, and a spike in her insurance premium.

“Accidents do happen, but people should accept responsibility for their actions, and when they don’t it is reassuring to know well-meaning members of the public are prepared to come forward and the police will prosecute,” said the former Redlands resident, who now lives in Torquay.

“I want people to know it doesn’t pay to leave an accident.”

He said the woman who hit his car had inspected the damage before she drove off. Officers managed to collar her as her licence plate number was taken down by a witness.

The police prosecuted and she was fined £130 and received three points on her licence.

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Mr Gibbings’ car was off the road for three days after the incident in Waitrose car park in April and the matter has only just been resolved.

He said the court case must have cost many times more than the £600 to fix the damage.

“In my day I would’ve taken statements and done what needed to be done rather than have it go through the Criminal Justice System - there wasn’t one,” he said.

He thanked the witness who came forward and Sidmouth police for taking the incident seriously.

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