Brentwood company director who drove at 120mph avoids long driving ban because of his staff

A Brentwood company director who drove at 120mph has been spared a long driving ban because the jobs of 15 staff depend on him.

Peter Anderson, 48, of Hart Street, who owns marquee-makers Smith, Bailey & Anderson, of Rainham, supplying major sporting events, was banned for 42 days by Chelmsford Magistrates despite the speed he was clocked at.

The bench heard that his staff would be caused exceptional hardship if he were to be disqualified from driving because it would hit new contracts he secured across the country.

He was also fined �185 with �90 costs after admitting driving his BMW 6 Series at 122mph on the A12 at Margaretting on October 14.

Victoria Morgan, representing Anderson, said in mitigation: “He is not somebody who was putting other lives at risk by driving at this speed, it was a Sunday morning and there were no vehicles in front, behind, or at the side of him.”

She said he had left work, having been at the ATP Tennis tournament at the O2 Dome in Docklands, and was going to his parents who lived at Ingatestone for lunch.

But she added: “He knows there is never any excuse for driving and not taking a proper note of his speed.”

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Six penalty points already on his licence were for mobile phone offences, she said.

Miss Morgan said Anderson’s family firm, founded 100 years ago, had made a �100,000 loss, but he had taken sole control and turned the business around.

She said that he needed his car to visit sites across the country at Newcastle, Castle Donnington, Bournemouth and Nottingham.

Anderson, she said, worked unsocial hours, negotiating contracts for social events, employing 15 staff involved in making bespoke canvas and PVC marquees.

“If he loses his licence the question is whether the firm can weather the storm, it’s so dependent upon him, nobody can step into his shoes.

“He has considered a chauffeur, he would need two chauffeurs, but there are question marks over its viability and whether he would be able to service a �500,000 loan from the banks.”