A former managing director of a builders merchants in Sunderland has been jailed for two and half years for committing a series of speeding offences.
Anne Ganley, who was managing director of north-east builders merchants A Thompson and Sons and its sister business TAPS (Thompson Associated Plumbing Supplies) until the business collapsed into adminstration in 2013, pleaded guilty to conspiracy in connection with 14 offences at Newcastle Crown Court.
The charges are that, over a number of years, Ganley paid employees to take her speeding points for her, effectively perverting the course of justice. Ganley’s son Brent, also a former director of the firm, was jailed for nine months and former employee Thomas Barraclough, was sentenced to six months in prison.
A further eight former employees were given suspended prison sentences after being convicted of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
All those convicted were arrested as part of Operation Jersey which began in March 2013 after intelligence led police to investigate Ganley in relation to speeding offences.
It was suspected at the time that Ganley was paying employees to accept responsibility for speeding offences on her behalf.
Sentencing the 12 defendants, Judge Deborah Sherwin said: “This offence relates to the wrong attribution of motoring offences, mainly speeding and subsequent acceptance of either penalty points or the being sent on driver awareness courses.”
“I’m satisfied the leader and main beneficiary was Anne Ganley. She was in the main assisted by Thomas Barraclough, playing a role in the operation.
“However, I accept it was a difficult position to be in, being an employee of Anne Ganley and this was confirmed by other employees.
“There is for many of the defendants a good degree of mitigation, for those who indicated guilty pleas at the earlier stages and had the added stress of waiting for it to reach this day.”
The judge told Ganley: “You were the main recipient of the course of conduct and I’m entirely satisfied you knew full well what went on within your company.
“You have already been banned from driving on one occasion and it is quite clear would have had to serve another period of disqualification.
It’s clear that you work hard and you are a driven individual, but you have behaved in a thoroughly disgraceful way, and, in doing so you have brought down your employees and your own son, people who would otherwise have been law abiding.”
Thompson Building Centres was acquired from the administrators by the Grafton Group and now trades as Buildbase.
Anne Ganley was awarded an OBE for services to charity and the builders merchants industry in 2013.