A NORTH Yorkshire company director who spent seven months lying to the police in court in a bid to escape a speeding fine has been given a six-month suspended prison sentence.

First John Soroka claimed that an Italian driver was at the wheel of a company vehicle photographed by a speed camera in Bedfordshire, said Laurie Scott, prosecuting. Soroka gave the authorities an Italian address for the driver.

Then when he was summonsed to court for allowing an uninsured driver to use one of his construction company’s fleet, he claimed the car had been stolen and later made a witness statement to the police supporting his claim.

But police investigating the “theft” checked his mobile phone records which showed that Soroka himself had been the driver.

Soroka, 60, pleaded guilty at York Crown Court to perverting the course of justice between June 25, 2013, and February 13, 2014, after the Recorder of York, Judge Stephen Ashurst, indicated he would not send him immediately to jail.

The judge praised the police for unearthing the truth.

The six-month prison sentence was suspended for two years on condition he did 100 hours’ unpaid work. He must also pay £1,500 towards the prosecution’s court costs.

He admitted the perverting the course of justice after his barrister Jon Gregg asked the judge what was the maximum sentence he would impose on Soroka.

Mr Greig said Soroka no longer owned the construction company and had been made bankrupt. His wife would help him to pay the prosecution costs.

The defence did not put any documents before the court regarding Soroka’s financial status but did refer to a medical report.