Word of warning: If you’re thinking of setting up a set of fake traffic lights as a prank, be prepared to be hit with a hefty fine.
Wayne Earl, a 62-year-old man from Wiltshire, was slapped with a £332 penalty for being a public nuisance, after he installed a green traffic light outside his house.
Mr. Earl had grown tired of spending thousands of pounds repairing damage to his Grade II listed home, which had been caused by vehicles reversing at the crossroads outside his house.
His ‘green light’ idea didn’t actually make things any better, however, as it was believed to ‘pose a considerable danger’ as well as causing other locals ‘a huge source of frustration’.
Sergeant Kevin Harmsworth, of Wiltshire Police, told the court, “The installation of these green lights, directly in line with a traffic light junction, caused a huge amount of frustration and concern amongst the local community and the local policing team, due to the potential danger they posed.
“We are in no doubt that these green lights posed a considerable danger to road users, as they appear to have been deliberately placed to confuse motorists about the traffic light sequence on a junction which had previously seen serious injury and fatal road traffic collisions.
“We made repeated attempts to liaise with Mr Earl, including serving both a Community Protection Warning and a Community Protection Notice, ordering him to either turn off or take down the green lights.
“Unfortunately, he failed to adhere with these orders and we had no choice but to pursue prosecution.”
Appearing in Salisbury Magistrates court, Earl agreed to pay £150 after admitting a charge of being a public nuisance. On top of this fine, he was also ordered to pay another £150 in costs and a £32 surcharge.
Trevor Line, Mr. Earl’s defence lawyer, said his client set up the light after his property’s porch was damaged multiple times.
“He was fearful that the next time it might be his house so he put up a light so vehicles could see the porch.”
Earl himself spoke after the case was closed, saying, “One lorry was turning up the lane opposite and could not make the turn so reversed and demolished the wall and the porch.
“The damage cost me thousands to repair.
“It was after that I decided to put the light up so the porch could be seen by people driving past.”
A white light had initially been used but was changed to green after it was believed to be causing problems for local bats.