Farmer with drugs conviction keeps license clean after insurance confusion

The defendant said he was unaware that he was not insured.
The defendant said he was unaware that he was not insured.

A well-known Colne farmer who did not tell his tractor insurers he had a drugs conviction has won a battle to keep his driving licence clean.

John Leslie Allison (71) was facing getting between six and eight penalty points after he admitted not having insurance last October 26th. He did not get any at all after he successfully argued special reasons why Burnley magistrates should not impose any.

The court heard NFU Mutual had written to Allison last October, telling him they would be cancelling his insurance cover because he had not disclosed he was convicted of permitting his premises to be used for the production of cannabis in August 2015.

But, he told the bench, he had had problems with his post, had not received the letter, a recorded delivery had been returned to sender, and he had renewed his yearly cover as usual in January 2016. He said: "I believed I was insured."

The bench said they believed the defendant had not received the notification letter from NFU Mutual and they did not endorse his licence. Allison, of Southfield Lane in Colne, was absolutely discharged, but must pay £85 costs.

Giving evidence, Allison said he had been driving for 54 years and had been with NFU Mutual for a decade. Questioned by his solicitor, Mr John Rusius, the defendant said he was not aware he had to tell his insurers about the conviction for his cover. He said: "I just renewed it."

Mr Rusius told the hearing Allison, who got a six month suspended jail term for the drugs offence, was convicted because "he was being taken advantage of." The solicitor continued: "Somebody rented a building from him and started growing cannabis which he wasn't aware of. He became aware and asked them to move it, but the police found it."

Mr Rusius went on: "He didn't think he needed to report that to the insurance company because it's not a motoring matter. Obviously, his insurance is vital to him as he is a farmer and he drives tractors."