A mechanic accused of diving 71mph along Elm Grove has become the first motorist charged with breaking the 20mph speed limit in Brighton and Hove.

Kwik Fit mechanic Nathan Townsend is accused of travelling more than three times the limit in his souped-up Ford Fiesta.

Sussex Police said officers in an unmarked police car on routine patrol at 7.45pm on November 26 last year pulled behind a blue Ford Fiesta in Elm Grove in Brighton.

They said the Fiesta then accelerated away from the officers who had to travel at 71mph to keep up with the vehicle before they were able to signal the driver to pull over.

The incident happened just metres away from Mr Townsend’s home in Brading Road.

Elm Grove, which is home to both Elm Grove Primary School and Brighton General Hospital, was incorporated into phase one of the roll-out of 20mph zones across the city in April last year.

When The Argus spoke to Mr Townsend on Friday he declined to comment saying it was a personal matter and not one he wanted to discuss with the paper.

Superintendent Jane Derrick said: “We will enforce the speed limit in 20mph zones when officers are there and see offences being committed.

“Speed limits are there for a reason – to keep people safe.

“The faster you are driving, the more likely it is that you or someone you hit will be seriously injured or even killed if you are in an accident.

“Anyone who chooses to flout the law by driving in excess of the limit, especially those who travel far in excess of the limit, should expect to be caught and punished.”

The 26-year-old married mechanic first appeared in court in March over charges of exceeding the 20mph speed limit, careless driving and having no MOT and will return to Brighton Magistrates’ Court again on May 29.