A Thornton man who was caught performing a burnout by an off-duty police officer at Green Hills was taken off the road for 12 months.
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During a hearing yesterday, Martin Allan Timothy Whelan, of Acer Terrace, pleaded not guilty to the prolonged loss of traction along Mitchell Drive.

He told the court his tyres squealed slightly as he tried to avoid being hit by another car as he pulled out of the Auto Barn driveway about 2.30pm on March 10.

Watching on the opposite side of the road was an off-duty highway patrol officer who said he heard a loud engine revving and screeching tyres.

When he looked up he saw a large plume of smoke coming from the rear tyres of Whelan’s high performance car.

In his statement, the officer said Whelan, 23, sustained the loss of traction over a pedestrian crossing before driving off.

The court was shown photographs, taken by the

officer, of tyre marks that were about 68 to 70 metres long.

Whelan’s solicitor argued the marks could have been made by a car before or after that date.

The magistrate Alison Viney disagreed and said the officer was obviously concerned about the danger of the incident considering the proximity to a pedestrian crossing.

“I would think it extraordinary police officers have so little to do than go around on their days off and record fictional information,” Ms Viney said.

Whelan was disqualified for 12 months and fined $500.

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