A WHITE van man has been cleared of speeding thanks to a police video which clearly showed he was the front seat passenger in his vehicle at the time.

Magistrates had convicted Lee Freeland, 26, of the offence in his absence without seeing the video evidence.

They fined him £280 and endorsed his licence with six penalty points after convicting him of driving at 85mph in a 60mph area at Dartley Bottom on the A417 near Cirencester.

But Mr Freeland, of Sheep Farm, Farnham, Surrey, appealed to Gloucester crown court against the conviction and asked the judge to view the police film.

Recorder Peter Henry, sitting with two magistrates, watched the video and accepted that Mr Freeland was the man in the passenger seat and not the driver, who was clearly a more heavily-built man.

The court quashed the conviction.

Prosecutor, Christopher Jervis had told the court the offence was committed on January 26 last year when the van was caught by a speed camera as well as a police officer with video camera.

A notice of prosecution was then sent to the registered keeper of the vehicle - Futurelook Ltd of Tilford, Surrey, he said.

The form sent with the notice was then completed by Mr Freeland and he gave his name and details in the 'identity of the driver section,' Mr Jervis said.

Having apparently identified himself as the driver he was sent an offer of a fixed penalty, which was not returned and he was then convicted in his absence by magistrates.

When asked why he had not attended the magistrates' hearing, Mr Freeland said he had been unable to get the time off work.

When Recorder Peter Henry, chair of the appeal bench, asked if Mr Freeland would like to see the video he said yes as it had not been him driving the vehicle.

On viewing the video in court, which showed the white van coming down the road in front of the camera, clearly with Mr Freeland in the passenger seat, the bench retired to consider their decision.

"We do allow the appeal. The conviction is quashed," said Recorder Henry.

However the bench refused Mr Freeland the costs from loss of earnings and travel expenses to the hearing saying it was his own fault for having left it to this stage.