A fireman was cleared of not wearing a seatbelt after he said a policewoman told him she had to book him because she had targets to hit.
Mark Rutland had just been on a seatbelt safety courseÂ
Mark Rutland, 36, won his case after being stopped in Widnes, Cheshire.
He denied the claim by Pc Joanne Gaskell of Cheshire Police that he was not wearing a seatbelt.
Mr Rutland, who went on a seatbelt safety course weeks before the incident, chose to refuse the fine and pay for a private court defence.
He told Halton magistratesâ€™ court in Runcorn, Cheshire, that he would never fail to take the safety measure because of the â€œhorrificâ€ accidents he sees while on duty.
Mr Rutland said the officer told him that she was looking for people not wearing a seatbelt and that, after stopping him she spoke of targets.
â€œThere was mention of the way they have certain campaigns,â€ said Mr Rutland. â€œShe said she was out looking for seatbelt offences. She said targets.
â€œIâ€™m adamant that when I get in my car the first thing I do is put my seatbelt on. I was annoyed she was wasting my time and police time â€“ itâ€™s ludicrous.â€
Pc Gaskell told the court that she stopped the defendant after he appeared to fasten his seatbelt at a set of traffic lights.
She said: â€œWhen we are not attending jobs we are proactive in the traffic area.
â€œThere wasnâ€™t a crackdown at that point. I wasnâ€™t on a job and I was on a free patrol.â€
But her evidence was criticised as inconsistent by magistrates.
The court heard she had made no contemporaneous notes when issuing the fixed penalty notice and that her witness statement was based on recollections two weeks later.
The wrong road was initially entered on the penalty, the court heard.
Sarah Gray, prosecuting, said Mr Rutland was angry after being stopped and told the officer she â€œshould be out catching drug dealersâ€. He denied the claim.
Marcus Johnstone, defending, said: â€œHe sees the consequences of people not wearing a seatbelt.
â€œI suggest the chances of him not wearing one are non-existent.
â€œIt is the police officer that is mistaken. Sheâ€™s looking for it, made up her mind and got a seatbelt offender.â€
Magistrates found him not guilty of failing to wear a seatbelt.
The Crown Prosecution Service will now pay Â£2,500 in costs. The fine for the offence would have been Â£60.
Outside court Mr Rutland said: â€œIf you do any work thatâ€™s based on targets, standards slip. Itâ€™s not a conviction, you get blinkered. For them to pursue it so far is ridiculous.
â€œThereâ€™s not much government money at the best of times. Now I see how much the police waste. How many more times are there like this when money is wasted?â€
Firefighter Mark Rutland wins seatbelt court battle