A “STUPID” motorist was admitted speeding along a residential street at 71mph.

Car mechanic Nathan Townsend has become the first person to be convicted of breaking a 20mph limit in Brighton and Hove.

He admitted speeding along Elm Grove, Brighton, driving without due care and attention and driving a vehicle without an MOT at Brighton Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

Magistrates described his speeding as “off the scale” as they sentenced the 27-year-old, disqualifying him from driving for 28 days and ordered him to pay £183 in fines, a £20 victim surcharge and £85 in costs.

Townsend told the court: “I do apologise, it was very out of character and I can assure you that it will never happen again.”

Elm Grove, one of the steepest roads in Brighton, was incorporated into phase one of the roll-out of 20mph zones across the city in April last year.

Magistrate Sim Maddison said: “The 71mph is high Mr Townsend – that is off the scale.”

The court heard Townsend was driving a blue Ford Fiesta when he pulled away from traffic lights on Elm Grove at speed on November 26 at about 7.45pm.

Townsend was clocked driving at 71mph as he drove over two large 20mph signs on the road, followed by an unmarked police car.

The Fiesta’s MOT had expired four days before.

Townsend, of Brading Road, Brighton, previously had a clean license.

After the case Superintendent Jane Derrick said: “Nathan Townsend was driving at an unacceptable speed that put other road users and himself in danger.

“No one sensible could believe that driving at 71mph in a residential area, especially in such a busy city as Brighton, is anything other than stupid.

“Speed limits are there to keep people safe. The faster you drive, the more likely you are to be involved in an accident.

“Anyone who chooses to race around the streets should expect to be caught and punished.”

Councillor Bill Randall, whose ward includes Elm Grove, added: “Driving at 71 miles an hour in a domestic neighbourhood and in a road with a school and hospital on it is reckless and anti-social in the extreme.

“However, this case does confirm the need for a 20mph speed limit to encourage people to drive carefully and considerately in the city’s domestic areas, a fact that residents in the Surrenden Road recognised recently when they voted overwhelmingly for the introduction of a 20 mph limit in their neighbourhood.”