Nick Knowles banned from driving for speeding while using mobile phone
The presenter was told he cannot get behind the wheel for six months, by magistrates in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.
DIY SOS host Nick Knowles has been banned from driving for six months and fined almost £1,500 for speeding and using a mobile phone behind the wheel.
The presenter and former I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! contestant appeared before Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.
He previously admitted exceeding 70mph in his Range Rover on the A417 Brockworth Bypass, while using his mobile phone, on January 28.
Knowles, 56, told magistrates that he had a hands-free kit in his car but was holding his phone due to a “dodgy power lead”.
He received six points on his licence for the offence, which resulted in a driving ban as he already had six points on it.
The court heard he was driving at 85mph when he was caught by a police mobile speed camera.
Presiding justice Andrew Hill told Knowles, from Cirencester, Gloucestershire, the ban would be enforced as it would not cause him “exceptional hardship”.
Mr Hill told him: “We take into account that you have shown remorse.
“We will disqualify you from driving today and you will be disqualified from driving for six months.
“From this moment in time, you are not able to drive any motor vehicle in any public place.”
Knowles asked: “I can drive home, right?”
Mr Hill replied: “No.”
Knowles then told him: “I’m joking.”
He was fined £666 for speeding and £666 for using his phone, with a victim surcharge of £66 and prosecution costs of £85.
Mr Hill said Knowles had 28 days to pay the total amount of £1,483.
The court heard he had pleaded guilty to both offences in May, under the single justice procedure.
Prosecuting, Nadina Farley-Turner told the court that Knowles was caught by the police camera at 10.55am on January 28.
As his Range Rover approached the camera, the operator could see he had “his left hand held up to his face”.
“The officer could clearly see that he was using his mobile phone,” Mrs Farley-Turner said.
“He continued to do so until he was 20 metres from the enforcement van, when it was put down.”
Knowles, representing himself, said he had chosen to “dismiss” legal advice to attempt to “get by on a technicality”.
“I was travelling faster than I should have done,” he told magistrates.
I do 25,000 miles a year and at various other times, I have looked at my phone. I had fallen into the habit of looking at texts. I now put my phone in the boot of my car Nick Knowles
“I actually have a hands-free kit and was using my hands-free kit. My phone had a dodgy lead and I was holding it.
“I do 25,000 miles a year and at various other times, I have looked at my phone.
“I had fallen into the habit of looking at texts. I now put my phone in the boot of my car.”
Knowles said his work involved him driving “round the country”, including to visit various charities.
He told magistrates that he used his car to collect his son, aged four-and-a-half, from school.
After they retired to consider his case, Martin Surl, police and crime commissioner for Gloucestershire, came into court.
Mr Surl told Knowles: “I just called by to say thank you for doing the responsible thing.”
Knowles replied that driving while using a phone could be “highly dangerous”, adding that he worked often with the police.
“Given all that background, it would be pompous and irresponsible of me to try and get off,” he told Mr Surl.
“I thought if I support the police, I can’t go and hire myself a lawyer to get me off – it is utterly preposterous.
“I look in cars now and I had no idea how many people are using a phone while driving.
“When it beeps and work pressure is on, it is very tempting to look at it. I just stick it in a bag in the boot now.”
Speaking outside court, Knowles described the incident as a “wake-up call”.
“The six-month ban was appropriate because to give anything else would be giving me special privilege,” he said.
Knowles said he hoped his case would make other people alter their behaviour too.