An ambulance driver has hit out after he was prosecuted for speeding at 90mph while responding to a medical emergency.

Matt Wood, 27, was caught on camera at Hedge End on the M27 on blue lights heading to Southampton Airport.

Mr Wood was on his way to pick up an ‘unstable’ patient arriving from Guernsey in the Channel Islands.

Mr Wood drove across the M27 to arrive at the airport in time for the patient’s arrival - but was snapped by a speed camera.

He received a notice of intended prosecution (NIP) and had to attend Southampton Magistrates’ Court - where the case was promptly dropped.

Appearing before magistrates on Friday, Mr Wood was informed that the case had been dismissed due to the evidence he provided - more than a year since the incident.

(Image: Newsquest)

Speaking to the Echo after the short proceedings, he said the prosecution was a “complete waste of time”.

He said: “I couldn’t believe it even got taken to court. It’s very odd this has happened.

“I am pleased the case has been dropped but it is a waste of everyone’s time.

“It’s embarrassing it has even got this far. I am hoping this won’t happen again.”

Hampshire police said their records indicated the vehicle used was “not equipped to transport people and was not marked as an ambulance”.

Mr Wood, from Nursling, was working for Criticare UK Ambulance Service at the time of the incident in January 2023.

He was in Portsmouth when he got the call to pick up the patient.

Despite providing documents to prove he was an ambulance driver to Driving Standards and Hampshire Constabulary, the case was still prosecuted.

The emergency vehicle he was driving was an unmarked Volvo, but he did use blue lights.

Vehicle unmarked

Mr Wood told the Echo: “Our vehicles must be unmarked as they are kept at our homes.

“We serve the emergency flights from Guernsey – we don’t know in advance what time they will be arriving.

“It was argued it was not an emergency as we should’ve known what time the flight would be arriving.

“The patient was deemed to be an emergency case.

“When the NIP was served on me, I didn’t know whether to laugh or not. It’s quite embarrassing, especially as it is our job.

“Working in this field, my colleagues and I know there is a risk of this happening, not when it is clear cut.

“In these cases we always make it clear to Driving Standards and the police who we are and what we are doing, and they tend to leave it alone, but not this time.

“I am hoping this won’t happen again.”

A UNISON spokesperson said: “NHS vehicles equipped with blue lights have arrangements in place for handling speeding tickets when dealing with emergencies. 

"Ambulance workers can claim exemptions for going over the speed limit, but issues may arise if they're in unmarked cars.”

CPS defends prosecution process

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said Hampshire Constabulary submitted a file to them this year after Mr Wood was charged with speeding.

A spokesperson confirmed a reviewing lawyer took the view the case should be brought to trial.

They said: "The CPS have a duty to continually review cases, and in light of Mr Woods’ evidence, the lawyer in court took the decision to offer no evidence and stop the prosecution.

"The CPS does not decide whether a person is guilty of a criminal offence, but makes a fair, independent assessment about whether the case should be considered by a criminal court."