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Ben BardsleyYou have to laugh. Ben Bardsley, of Warrington, was having a pond built at his house, and while he was watching the work he was struck by a digger bucket and knocked into the pond. He claimed that the accident had caused damage to his neck and back, meaning he couldn’t lift weights anymore (he’s a bodybuilder and gym owner), and that it had also given him a fear of heights.

Reading into the story, it seems that if he’d have accepted the offer of £4,500 the insurance company had initially made, that would have been the end of it. He’d been involved in an accident, after all, and the claim was legitimate in that sense. But Bardsley was greedy, and wanted up to five times that amount, claiming extensive physical as well as psychological damage. That was when Aviva became suspicious and instructed lawyers to investigate further. Reading into it again, they didn’t have to investigate very much to flush him out.

They uncovered multiple photos he’d posted of himself lifting heavy weights in the gym after the accident. Best of all, he showed how badly vertigo – a fear of heights – had affected him by posting a video of himself going down the Verti-Go slide in Benidorm, which is 33 metres high, and you travel at 62mph down it. He even showed his muscles off to some kids at the bottom.

So, from having a guaranteed £4,500 pay-out, he’s now been stung with no pay-out – and an order to pay the £14,000 in legal costs.

I have little time for insurance scammers. Every time anyone has hit my car – or cars my ex-pupils have been driving – they have tried it on.

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Clifton Bridge, NottinghamBloody hell!

I was on my way to a 6.30pm lesson last night (6 February), heading north on the A52, and I noticed they were putting up cones on the southbound side. I thought ‘bloody idiots, doing roadworks at this time during the busiest rush hour of the week’ (Thursday is busier than Friday, usually).

Anyway, I finished my lesson and headed home along the A52 in the southbound direction. This was at around 8.15pm, and as I approached the QMC in free moving traffic, suddenly it was at a standstill. I remembered the cones from earlier, and quickly switched lanes, did a u-turn, and went via the city centre and Trent Bridge using all the side roads. I was heading for Asda in West Bridgford, and this was the best alternative way to get there.

Traffic was very heavy in Nottingham and over Trent Bridge. It wasn’t until I got home and came online that I discovered the reason for it all. They’ve been doing maintenance work on Clifton Bridge for a few weeks, and apparently they discovered a structural fault involving corroded steel yesterday. As a result, the southbound carriageway of the A52 is completely shut. I have read this morning that a second defect has been discovered. Until about 11.30am today, they had been saying that the bridge would be shut until at least midday.

The latest is that it will be shut until ‘early next week’. Google gives 13 February as the estimated date (and that’s late next week).

For anyone who doesn’t know, Clifton Bridge is actually two bridges. The first was built in 1958, and was a single carriageway road. By the late 60s, traffic congestion on the route was so severe that a second bridge was built right next to the first, and opened in 1972. Although the lane priorities have changed a couple of times over the years, the current configuration is that the old bridge carries three lanes northbound, and the new bridge carries one lane northbound, and four lanes southbound. This problem means that there is no southbound route, and the northbound is reduced by 25% (probably 50% or more in reality, since two of the four lanes don’t continue on the A52 anyway, but only flow on to Queens Drive for all practical purposes, which is on the diversion route as detailed below).

You can imagine the problems this has caused. The diversion route – four lanes’ worth of traffic, which is frequently at a virtual standstill heading towards the A1 (south) and the M1 (J24) – is being diverted into a single lane, along Queens Drive, past the railway station, along London Road and Trent Bridge, then either through Wilford (M1) or West Bridgford (M1, A1). It was bad enough at 8.15 last night, but I can’t wait to see what happens this afternoon with the earlier Friday rush hour. Northbound will be extremely heavy due to the lost lane. Google already shows stationary traffic on Queens Drive and along London Road/Trent Bridge (at 1.30pm).

I’ve cancelled my whole day. Even if I could get out to pupils, for most of them we wouldn’t be able to get anywhere once I did.

Update: Be careful out there. It’s gridlock on some roads for most of the day right now.

Update 8/2/2020: The latest update is that it will be closed until ‘at least Wednesday’ – which is 12th February. And note it says ‘at least’.

Update 11/2/2020: I saw a report this evening that said they were planning to open one lane on the bridge in time for the end of the Forest match tonight. A later report says they’re not now able to do that because the safety barriers aren’t installed yet.

Update 15/2/2020: They opened up a single lane on 12/2/2020, and even at 8pm last night (14th) traffic was very slow moving (largely because of prats racing up in the left-hand lane for the city centre, then forcing their way in near the lane-merge through the cones). There’s also a 30mph speed limit in force. During the day, queues are still back to the QMC.

Update 23/0/2020: In case anyone hasn’t heard, the bridge is now expected to be substantially the way it is now until the end of the year. It certainly won’t be fully open for at least 9 months!

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brexit_mentalityImmediately after the referendum, Brexiters showed their true colours by putting signs up telling foreigners to go home.

Nearly four years down the line, the unimaginable has happened, and that half of the electorate with the combined intelligence of a cowpat has collectively orgasmed overnight, as Johnson delivered what he hopes will keep him in power. This story shows clearly what drove us into this in the first place.

It was placed on doors across all 15 floors of a Norwich tower block.

Make no mistake, the sentiment which drove the twat(s) who did this festers in the minds of a huge number of Brexit supporters out there. They will deny it, of course. They will take issue with it. But they have this cancer running through their veins, no matter what ‘reasons’ they now give for voting to leave the EU.

This is what did it. This is what got that tiny, tiny majority that has effectively destroyed this country. And this is what we have condemned ourselves to.

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Albert and his carerHere’s a worthwhile GoFundMe appeal.

Albert Johnson was one of the Windrush generation. He hasn’t been to Jamaica – where he thinks he may still have family – since 1974. He is now 89 years old and… well, you can understand what that means. He has been ill and age is taking its toll. It would seem that one big reason he hasn’t been back earlier is that there was a damned good chance this country wouldn’t let him back in again. However, he now has a UK passport and assurance of his citizenship.

He lives with his carer, who herself deserves a medal for what she is doing, and obviously cannot afford such a trip himself (he lives in a deprived area of Nottingham). You can read his full story on the GoFundMe page.

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A lot of people are finding this article based on the search term “UKCPS scam”. It was first published in 2013 and it sees regular spikes in visitor traffic. I saw a surge at Christmas 2018, and now there’s one in 2019, which doesn’t come as much of a surprise – UKCPS are vultures.


After seeing this story in the newsfeeds I thought I’d mention something that happened to me in late 2013. In fact, I mentioned it in this article back in January of 2014, but there’s a bit of a follow up.Leeds Arena

In December 2013, I went to see Status Quo at the new Leeds Arena. I picked up my mate (let’s call him Bob) from his house just outside Leeds and we drove into the City Centre. Bob directed me to the Edward Street car park not far away from the Arena and we parked there. This car park has ANPR cameras that detect your registration number as you drive in, and you have to enter your registration into the ticket machine – if it doesn’t match what the ANPR system picked up you apparently don’t get a ticket. I paid using my debit card (which turned out to be a wise move). There was only one price available at the time from the machine – the £8.50 overnight charge – in spite of a list of hourly tariffs being shown on signs. We arrived at shortly before 6pm and drove out at just after 11pm, where ANPR cameras apparently once again log your exit.

As we walked to the Arena, Bob told me that a few weeks earlier his wife (let’s call her Sarah) had been Christmas shopping and parked in that same car park. A few days later she was stung with a fine for “insufficient fee paid”. Now, Sarah isn’t the kind of person to take things lying down, and in any case she’d kept the receipts proving that she had paid the correct amount. She kicked up a stink and they dropped the charge. It was normal chit-chat, and I didn’t think much of it after that.

I lease my school car and the arrangement is that any traffic fines are automatically paid by the lease agent (most lease companies operate this way, I believe) if an infringement is submitted to them. This avoids the fine escalation if you don’t pay within 14 days. Anyway, in January I got a letter from my lease company informing me that they had paid a fine submitted by UKCPS (United Kingdom Car Parking Solutions). I was spitting feathers (this is another one of the things that can create stress in this job) because I hadn’t done anything wrong.

I immediately wrote an appeal to UKCPS. I also wrote to Leeds City Council, because I didn’t realise at the time that the car park in question was a private one, but all this did was teach me what a bunch of dickheads work there. The Council told me it wasn’t their problem (it seems Leeds has a similar bunch of morons in charge that Nottingham does). I pointed out in my letter to UKCPS that they KNEW I had entered the car park, they KNEW I had left it, and they KNEW how much I had paid. Furthermore, since I’d paid by debit card, my bank statement was proof of how much I’d paid. There was no reply after 20 days. I wrote a further harshly-worded letter demanding a response from them within 14 days, which was not forthcoming. I then phoned them on the number that says not to use it for claims, and they said immediately that they’d refund it. I never had to provide proof of the amount I’d paid, and I eventually got my money back in February.

I stress again that UKCPS KNEW I had paid the right amount. Their ANPR system and ticket machine would tell them that clearly. And they asked for no proof when I phoned them, which suggests they were well aware of enough information – either from my letters that they’d ignored, or via said systems – to immediately admit they were wrong. So it doesn’t take a genius to work out what they were up to, particularly when you consider they’d tried the exact same thing with Bob’s wife. I’m updating this at Christmas 2018, which is further evidence: they try this same scam every year.

In fact, if you Google “UKCPS insufficient fee” – which I did when I appealed – you find that the same scam has been pulled on hundreds, if not thousands, of other innocent members of the public. Take a look at this single link – particularly the reviews on the left hand side, where 16 out of 17 reviewers have had the same scam pulled on them and most appear to have coughed up! The hits that Google throws up are mainly the ones where people have actually tried to do something about it. It’s anyone’s guess how many others have blindly paid up thinking they made a mistake. UKCPS is cashing in on the fact that it knows a significant number of people won’t appeal. So they’re either scam artists, or are so incompetent that they make a lot of “mistakes”.

UKCPS are the sort of vermin who, until the Law changed making it illegal, would have happily clamped everyone who parked in their car park. The Law now needs to change to put these thieving parasites out of business for good. You will note that their (crap and amateurish) website graphics imply that they manage car parking for Tesco, Harveys, and Boots, since these are featured.

And Leeds City Council needs a good slap to remind it that it cannot just shake off all responsibility for cowboy operators in their City.


More recently (mid-2016) I had a run of hits on this story. I did a bit more reading and it would appear that UKCPS is becoming less likely to accept an appeal on the first contact. Perhaps their owner – who is still not behind bars where he belongs, based on the false charges his scumbag company has brought against innocent people – is worried that his profits are not increasing as much as he’d like, so he’s ordered the parasites who work for him to put up a defence.

Don’t be put off. UKCPS’ false charge scheme IS a scam, sanctioned by the city councils who allow UKCPS to operate within their boundaries.

If you know you were not guilty, don’t pay – and argue like mad. Often, and hard. Just don’t ignore the charge notice.


Is UKCPS a scam parking operator?

Well, me and my mate’s wife have direct experience of the kind of things they get up to. But take a look at these links:

These are a tiny sample. Try Googling for “UKCPS parking scam” or “UKCPS Ltd parking ticket” and see what you get. There are hundreds and hundreds of people like you who these cretins are trying to intimidate (including disabled people parking in disabled bays that these gutter trash operate). That Responsive link sums it up nicely by pointing out that UKCPS usually backs down at the first appeal – and that’s because they know that they can make money from those who don’t appeal. You don’t need to be a genius to work out if it’s a scam or not.

Are UKCPS fines legitimate?

There is no straight answer to this. In my opinion, they are not – and that explains why anyone appealing to UKCPS, and making sure the appeal is heard (i.e. don’t let them just ignore you) appears to get the fine refunded or overturned rather easily.

UKCPS are scammers, that’s for sure. They seem to operate on the principle that if they issue 100 bogus fines, only a small minority of people are likely to complain and see the complaint through. Even if only one person out of that hundred didn’t appeal, they’re making money. But I suspect that more like 80% of people simply pay up and leave it at that.

If someone ever had the desire and the money to take them to court, I think we’d find out rather quickly just how legitimate these cowboys are.

Should I just ignore the fine?

No, don’t do that. By all means, withhold payment while you contest it, but don’t just ignore it. These scammers walk a very fine line between being legal and illegal, and they know full well what they’re doing. If you ignore it, they’ll likely pass it over to debt collectors, and the amount you owe will go up by hundreds of pounds (you must have seen the Bailiffs programmes on TV).

Just fight the putrid parasites on their own terms.

Is UKCPS a legitimate company?

Unfortunately, yes. There is a big question mark over the legality of their business practices, however. There is a also a big question mark over the role of councils such as Leeds City Council, who are effectively authorising this illegal behaviour – presumably because UKCPS pays them money in order to keep operating. The list of scumbags directors who operate UKCPS are given as:

  • Ms Helen Claire Hilton
  • Ms Lorraine Doyle
  • Mr Gary Deegan (twice)
  • Mr Michael Bullock

I had a look at this list again in 2019 and it seems that apart from Deegan, all the others resigned some time ago. So UKCPS is apparently a one-man scumbag outfit now.

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Well, the Clown Prince has finally had something go his way. We’re set for a General Election in December.

I am a lifelong Labour voter (and one time active Labour Party member), but I cannot vote for them while Corbyn is leader. His stance on Brexit – and what I know he feels about EU membership, in spite of the grudging position the Labour Party has adopted – means there’s even less chance of me voting Labour right now.

Quite honestly, under normal circumstances it doesn’t really matter who gets into power after a GE in the sense that the world keeps turning. It’s only after a few years that policies start coming through that begin to upset people, and that starts a chain reaction which leads to a change of power at the next GE. The only PM who has ever done any real good for this country in terms of the economy was Tony Blair. After him, even Gordon Brown wasn’t that bad, although most elderly and unenlightened members of the electorate will forever blame the 2009 global recession on him, as he was unfortunate enough to have it happen on his watch.

Right now, though, the only thing that interests me is Brexit, and I don’t care who is in power if their pledge is to stop it.

Brexit is not a political issue. However, it most definitely is a political tool. Johnson can count on every moron who wants to leave the EU voting for him just because he is promising to leave no matter what. However, remain voters are fragmented across several political parties. Recent opinion polls suggest that the remain/leave sentiment is still split 50:50, with the possibility from some polls that the remain side is further ahead than it has ever been since the referendum (though still close to 50:50). Even if the remain side had 60% of the vote in terms of EU membership, in a separate political vote to elect a government this would be split among two main parties Labour and Lib Dems) and several smaller ones.

Right now, Remainers are f***ed, because Johnson is almost certainly going to walk away with it. And this is in spite of the lies and appalling oratory he favours (I never thought I’d hear a reference to Charlie Brown in Parliament, but I did yesterday). I mean, I never thought people could be so stupid as to vote to leave the EU. But they did (albeit, only just). In the same year, I didn’t think people could be so stupid as to put Donald Trump in the White House. But they did. I’m not even going to wonder if they could be so stupid as to freely vote Johnson into No. 10, because I’m pretty certain they will be.

And all because they desperately want Brexit.

There is only one party that has had the balls to state outright that if they come into power they will stop Brexit. That is the Liberal Democrats. And that’s who will be getting my vote in the GE. I don’t care what their other policies are, because it simply doesn’t matter that much. But Brexit does matter. A lot.

So I urge all Remainers out there to ditch their political allegiances and vote for the Lib Dems. I also urge all young people – especially students – to plan ahead and make sure they can vote wherever they will be on 12 December. I’m fairly certain Johnson will have considered that the younger voters are the strongest remain demographic, and that with most Universities finishing for Christmas around that time some will perhaps not be registered properly to vote.

Brexit is wrong. It was wrong in 2016. It’s wrong now.

And it will still be wrong in 50 years’ time, when most current Brexiters won’t be around, but a lot of young people will be. It’s your future. Make sure you try and save it.

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Road works map of NottinghamThis is getting beyond a joke now. Take a look at the map of current road works in Nottingham (click the image above, or click here, for the full-size version).

This section of the map doesn’t even show the whole of the county, nor does it include at least two of the telephone pole replacement operations I’ve been caught up in over the last few of days.

There are literally hundreds of the f***ing things (every dot represents at least one, but sometimes several separate works). You get diverted by one set, then you get held up on the diversion route by another – made worse by the fact that traffic is being diverted that way from multiple locations.

If you think that’s bad, look at the 12 month forecast. And yes, the prats are going to be closing the A60 at some point at Daybrook and diverting Ring Road volumes of traffic through the side streets in Arnold – where other works are also planned. It’s just going to get worse and worse.

This is the result of incompetence of the highest order across many organisations. The Council, Severn Trent, Cadent, the electric companies, BT… all of them. The whole thing is made worse by the fact that relatively small jobs are invariably scheduled to last ten times longer than they need to – and frequently over run.

Cadent has been working on multiple sites on a rolling plan for getting on for a decade now. A typical example of their efficiency can be seen at the junction between the Ring Road and Beechdale Road. It’s one of the busiest junctions in Nottingham, and a few weeks ago (30 September) they blocked off part of the left-turn slip road into Beechdale. This caused major tailbacks because only one or two cars could get into the slip before the lights, which meant that fewer overall passed through the junction with each sequence. That was bad enough, but last week they blocked the left turn completely, and now traffic either follows the official diversion, or – if it knows better routes – goes through the narrow side streets. But it now means that all Ring Road traffic has to go ahead at the junction, causing bigger tailbacks than ever beyond the Crown Island. To add insult to injury – and the reason I’m singling them out – on at least two days last week absolutely no one from Cadent or anywhere else did any work whatsoever on that junction. There was literally no one there. No one at all.

Those works are scheduled up until 11 November. Over a whole f***ing month. And yet they could do it in a much shorter time if they didn’t employ time-wasting arseholes, and who actually worked for a living, and did proper hours, instead of the standard two in the morning,  two in the afternoon, and two in the van eating and not talking to each other. And who didn’t spend half of their “work” time pissing about with their phones. And incidentally, there’s no absolute reason for the slip lane to be closed in the first place, because they’re working on the verge – it’s the usual Health & Safety thing, where work can’t take place if traffic is passing within 5 metres, so they close off lanes to make sure it isn’t. Oh, and they aren’t working weekends or – it seems – if it’s raining. They are a joke outfit.

Severn Trent is also worth a mention. They are different to the others in that they never do any maintenance work (unless it involves maximum disruption in the first place), but instead wait until there is a leak. Then, they still do nothing until the leak has either damaged the road to the point of being dangerous, or has worsened to the point where people are reporting sightings of sea mammals going past the shops, and passing pilots heading to East Midlands are moaning about wet windscreens. At this point, they install temporary lights – the batteries of which they frequently allow to drain, resulting in the lights staying on red – then go away for a week. Then they come back, dig a hole, and go away again. A week later, they come back and fill the hole in, then go away again. Eventually, someone puts some tarmac over the filled-in hole, then goes away again. Several days later, someone comes to remove the traffic lights to use in a similar pantomime somewhere else. The whole process of fixing a leak takes at least two f***ing weeks (several months if you allow for when water was first reported gushing out of the ground), when it should be done in a day. And I know they could do it that quickly, because when they have one of their not-infrequent catastrophic leaks, they can dig up an entire road, replace a main, and put the road back in a fraction of the time it takes them to do one of the small ones. And Severn Trent is the only company I know that seems to think tarmac takes four days to cure before it can be driven on.

I often tell my pupils about how we didn’t used to have wheelie bins when I was their age. Instead, we had cylindrical metal dustbins, which had a small handle on each side. Usual custom was to fill it to overflowing with filth that was almost alive (in hot summers, it often was), possibly because of the batteries and any other electrical item you could cram in with the food waste, then wait for the bin men to come round every Monday, pick it up and sling it over their shoulder, and take it out to the dustbin van and manually empty it in there. A common follow up custom for some residents was to complain to the Council because the bin men hadn’t put the dustbin back exactly where it came from, or had left the lid off (these dustbins had round metal lids). Christ, you could have filled the dustbin to the brim with wet cement the night before, and they’d still take it out and empty it for you. They’d also take cupboards and almost anything else you left next to the dustbin. But these days, if the lid of the wheelie bin isn’t shut properly they’ll refuse to empty it – and you have to take it out to the roadside yourself, and bring it back in once emptied.

It’s the same with road works. Once upon a time, they could resurface several miles of road in a day, because they worked almost continuously – overnight and weekends. I mean, back in the day you could go to bed one night, and wake up next morning with a new motorway ready to drive on. These days you’re lucky if they do ten feet of road a day and work for more than an hour at a time. And it still takes a week or two more before someone comes and paints the lines on again (but only on the newly laid surface, because the faded lines on the old bits they haven’t touched “aren’t part of the contract”). And as for the signage… well, fixing that can take years (they still haven’t put signs up for the Virgin and Racecourse roundabouts after building the eco-clown route on the Colwick Loop Road, and that was finished almost two years ago).

Something has got to be done about this.

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Dilbert scam cartoonThere was a news item on the BBC earlier, which is covered by this article on the BBC website. It tells of an elderly chap, Doug Varey, who saw a pop-up on his computer offering security protection for 12 years at a cost of £556.

A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from TV Licensing (dated 11 October), informing me that my TV licence payment hadn’t gone through, and that I needed to pay before 13 October, otherwise they’d set the debt collectors on me. Within two seconds I had mouthed “f**k off” and clicked the spam button. Then there’s the Virgin Media emails saying much the same thing. And the Sky ones. And don’t even get me started on the avalanche of emails I get telling me I’ve won an Amazon/Iceland/M&S/Sainsburys/Tesco/Argos/etc. gift voucher. Or the latest one where I’ve apparently won a Kia. I’ve had spoofed bank ones before. Even the pop-up ones like that which snared Doug Varey have cropped up from time to time.

The scammers will get nothing out of me. Unfortunately, they rely on people like Doug Varey – and the “thousands” of others who fall for it.

I use Bitdefender Total Security. It alerts me if I go to an infected website, automatically scans anything I download, and prevents any installed software from accessing protected folders unless I tell it otherwise. It also has ransomware protection and spam filtering among a host of other stuff. It doesn’t slow my computer down. And it costs £20 new on Amazon. It is updated frequently with the latest virus definitions.

Over 12 years, Bitdefender would cost me £240. And yet Doug Varey is quoted in that BBC story:

I thought per year, that’s [£556 is £46 a year] quite cheap. And I agreed to sign up for it.

It isn’t cheap in any shape or form. Even more so when you consider that once he’d paid, they then appear to have accessed his computer and forced him to cough up another £4,000 to remove an alleged hacker.

I have a coffee cup with the Dilbert cartoon above on it. Never was anything so true.

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A car stopped by Derbyshire Police - and no crime recordedLook at the photo, above.

Yes, it’s real. It hasn’t been Photoshopped or anything (unless Derbyshire Police are making stuff up), but this is what they found when they stopped a driver doing the school run near Normanton. It appeared on the BBC local newsfeed, so there’s no stable link, but the brief text with it says:

The officer gained the driver’s attention and escorted the car to a nearby garage in Normanton for a replacement tyre.

Derby City Council [DCC] said checks on the car found it was fully taxed and had a valid MOT.

Erm, excuse me, DCC, but the Highway Code says the following:

Tyres. Tyres MUST be correctly inflated to the vehicle manufacturer’s specification for the load being carried. Always refer to the vehicle’s handbook or data. Tyres should also be free from certain cuts and other defects.

Law CUR reg 27

Following the Law link to The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986, we see:

Condition and maintenance of tyres

27 …a wheeled motor vehicle or trailer a wheel of which is fitted with a pneumatic tyre shall not be used on a road, if—

the tyre has any lump, bulge or tear caused by separation or partial failure of its structure

I think it is fairly safe to say that the tyre in the photo is absolutely, totally, and unequivocally illegal for use on the roads. Illegal with knobs on. It’s worth at least six points on someone’s licence in that state.

It’s yet another example of the Police not doing their jobs properly. If a male driver had, say, tried to chat up a woman as he engaged in “the school run”, he’d be in the cells and looking at lifelong membership of the sex offenders’ register before you could fart. However, someone “else” on “the school run” has got away with this unbelievably dangerous tyre. And he/she (take a guess which it most likely was) probably had his/her kids with him/her at some point (not to mention everyone else’s kids who had to risk being within five miles of him/her).

You need to be a special kind of stupid to let a tyre get in that condition. I’ve never seen one even remotely like it, and the wheel balance must have been beyond bad. And the driver in question seriously needs lesson in how not to hit the kerb every time they park, because as well as an horrendously dangerous car, they’re also clearly an horrendously bad driver (and don’t forget the month of rain we had this morning, either). But now we know you can get away with all that. In Derbyshire, anyway.

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