Sentencing in Northumberland coach case

Howard Snaith school transport buses.
Howard Snaith school transport buses.

Staff from a Northumberland-based coach company, which was at the centre of a conspiracy trial, have been given suspended prison sentences.

Nearly 20 employees and a partner of Howard Snaith Coach Travel have been the subject of a lengthy trial, which started in January this year, facing charges of knowingly making false driver records in contravention of EC regulations as part of a conspiracy.

However, on Monday, March 23, during the trial at Newcastle Crown Court, director Alison Snaith, 59, of Brierley Gardens, Otterburn, admitted perverting the course of justice and most of the accused were acquitted of a conspiracy to falsify records.

And on Tuesday, at York Crown Court, she was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for two years, as well as being ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work.

Terence Foreman, 59, of Walby Hill Cottage in Rothbury, pleaded guilty to six false record offences. He was sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for 18 months. No order for costs was made.

Byron Dodd, 51, of Burns Avenue, in Blyth, pleaded guilty to five false record offences. He was sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for 18 months, as well as 150 hours of unpaid work. No order for costs was made.

Mark William Hogg, 41, of Grieve Avenue, Jedburgh, pleaded guilty to three false record offences. He was sentenced to four months in prison, suspended for 18 months and 150 hours of unpaid work. No order for costs was made.

Gary Tweddle, 34, of Ravensworth Court, Bedlington, pleaded guilty to three false record offences. He was sentenced to three months in prison, suspended for 18 months, and 100 hours of unpaid work. No order for costs was made.

Craig McKenna, 39, of Cliftonville Avenue, in Newcastle, pleaded guilty to three charges of false record offences. He was sentenced to three months in prison, suspended for 18 months, and 80 hours of unpaid work. No order for costs was made.

Martin Robinson, 54, and Tony Jordan, 59, of Tindale Avenue, Cramlington, each pleaded guilty to one false record offence. Both were fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £500 costs.

Maurice White, 64, of Beetham Crescent, Newcastle, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to create false records. He received a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months. No order for costs was made.

Stewart Wood, 40, of Galaden in Morpeth, also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to create false records and sentenced to three months in prison, suspended for 18 months, with 80 hours unpaid work and £250 costs.

Stephen Clark, 41, of Spital House Farm, Newbiggin-by-the Sea, was cleared of perverting the course of justice but pleaded guilty to three counts false record offences. He was sentenced on Wednesday to three months in prison, suspended for 18 months, ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid work, and pay £400 costs.

Seven other individuals - John Cameron, Iain Cody, Alan Dunkerley, Gerard Fox, Jessie Hickie, Kenneth James, and David Wilkinson - were previously acquitted of conspiracy charges.