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Speeding driver used James Bond-style smokescreen in a bid to shake off police

A speeding driver who deployed a James Bond-style smokescreen device in a bid to shake off police has been spared jail.

Simon Chaplin rigged a bucket of diesel, a pump and pipes, behind the passenger seat of his Peugeot 309 to produce "colossal" amounts of grey smoke from his exhaust.

The court was show photos of the smokescreen device. Credit: Wales News Service

A court heard the 62-year-old "eccentric" activated the device when a policeman attempted to pull him over for speeding and covered the carriageway with fumes.

Chaplin tried to evade the officer's flashing blue lights but the policeman followed the billowing plumes through country roads near Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire.

Pursuing Pc Dafydd Birch caught up with Chaplin five miles up the road when he pulled into a farmyard.

Credit: Wales News Service

There was a vast amount of dense smoke coming out the back. It completely obscured the road.

I had to slow down and keep a distance. I knew when he had turned left only by following the smoke he left behind.

At times I came to an almost complete stop because of the smoke.

I had to look across the top of the hedgerows to see where he had gone.

For a while I could not see the car but in the distance I could see the smoke going up a hill towards the village of Crundale.

I caught up with him but the smoke kept coming thick and fast.

– Pc Dafydd Birch

Chaplin, of Hebron, near Whitland, Carmarthen, was convicted of causing a danger to other road users by deliberately causing smoke to be emitted.

Chaplin said he saw Pc Birch activate a flashing blue light "but sort of panicked".

He said the device, which was used to kill moles, belonged to another man and he had borrowed it.

Judge Elwen Evans QC, said: "You caused smoke to be emitted on a village road in such circumstances that any reasonable person would know it was dangerous."

Chaplin also pleaded guilty to driving without insurance and threatening behaviour.

He was handed a community order of 100 hours unpaid work and given six points on his licence.