While driving through the Welsh capital, the man spotted a Ford Fiesta displaying his own car’s registration number. He immediately informed the police who descended on the scene and arrested the Fiesta driver.
The Fiesta driver David Stiff was arrested in the Riverside area of Cardiff but denied any knowledge of the fraudulent plate.
He claimed that he had bought the car three days earlier from “some guy I met on Ninian Park Road”.
The 44-year-old appeared at Cardiff Magistrates’ Court on Friday and admitted driving without a license, insurance, or an MOT certificate – but a fraud charge was dropped.
Prosecutor Kevin Withey said: “It is an unusual case stemming from the fact a member of the public was driving through Cardiff and was concerned to see another car bearing his own vehicle’s registration number.
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“There was some honesty in his behaviour at the scene, albeit some criminality because he was driving illegally at the relevant time.”
The defendant relies on benefits, getting around £56 per week.
Passing sentence District Judge Steve Harmes said: “I appreciate you have very little income so these fines may seem minimal to members of the public but they will mean something to you.”
The judge fined Stiff £95 and ordered him to pay £85 in prosecution costs and a £34 victim services surcharge.
The defendant was also banned from driving for nine months.
Speaking to WalesOnline after the sentencing, Stiff said he was glad the fraud charge had been dropped.
He added: “I went to pick my daughter up and I was parked up outside her house, then the next thing I know I’m surrounded by police.
“Like I said to them, I’d only had the car three days. I didn’t know anything about the plates.”
The news comes after another driver was left furious after getting an eye-watering fine for charging his car at Lidl.
James Piddock left his Renault Zöe charging at Lidl in Ditton, Kent while he was visiting his girlfriend nearby for a Sunday dinner.
The supermarket was shut at the time and so the car park was completely empty.
However, the Lidl in question usually has a 90-minute maximum stay for shoppers.
Mr Piddock had plugged his car into the pay-per-use Pod Point charger at around 6.20pm.
Less than two hours later he returned to his car and paid the £9.50 charge.
But he was staggered to receive a £90 fine a few days later for staying 23 minutes over the allotted time limit.