12 cleared of conspiracy charges as bus-company director pleads guilty to perverting course of justice

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

A director of a north Northumberland coach company admitted perverting the course of justice in court earlier this week.

Alison Snaith, 59, of Brierley Gardens, Otterburn, pleaded guilty to the charge on Monday during a trial at Newcastle Crown Court which began in January after she, together with the company and 11 employees, were accused of conspiring to falsify drivers’ records.

The court heard that during the course of an investigation by officers from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, which began in March 2011, Snaith produced four tachograph records to replace four which had been lost.

Driver Stephen Clark, 41, of Spital House Farm, Newbiggin-by-the Sea, was cleared of perverting the course of justice.

During the hearing, the coach firm (Howard Snaith and Partners), Clark, Snaith, her sister Jessie Hickie, 56, of The Follions, Otterburn; John David Cameron, 63, of Long Causeway, Barnsley; Iain Condy, 39, of First Row, Linton; Alan Dunkerly, 56, of Thompson Street, Bedlington; Gerard Fox, 59, of Wilderhaugh, Galashiels; Mark William Hogg, 41, of Grieve Avenue, Jedburgh; Kenneth Andrew James, 66, of Hollywell Crescent, Amble; James Joseph Phelan, 65, of Duke Street, Alnwick; Gary Tweddle, 34, of Ravensworth Court, Bedlington; and David John Wilkinson, 53, of Brierley Gardens, Otterburn, were cleared of allegations of conspiracy made against them.

But Clark, Hogg and Tweddle each admitted three counts of the lesser charge of knowingly making a false record.

Judge Deborah Sherwin indicated in court that the maximum sentence she was considering was a suspended sentence.

The jury was discharged and the case was adjourned until Tuesday, April 21.