HAVE you heard the one about the three councillors in a car who followed their former colleague down the road and secretly filmed him driving without tax?

That was the scene when a trio of Eastleigh Liberal Democrats turned sleuths to catch out fellow member Councillor Glynn Davies-Dear.

The former mayor, who defected from the Lib Dems to form a new party last year, was driving home from a council meeting without a tax disc having earlier collected his Kia Sedona from an MOT centre.

But he had no idea that he was being followed – with one councillor even filming the journey on his mobile phone.

Council reports reveal how Councillor Paul Bicknell was videoing and taking pictures while being driven by Councillor Keith Trenchard, with Councillor Chris Thomas also a passenger in the car.

Cllr Davies-Dear has since received a slap on the wrist after the footage was shown to a standards sub-committee, which ruled he had brought his office in to “disrepute”. Police were informed but have taken no action.

Last night he described the Lib Dem trio as “childish” claiming it made sense to stop off at the Bishopstoke Parish Council meeting on his way back from the MOT. Drivers are entitled to travel to and from a garage without a tax disc for a prearranged test.

He said: “It is a shame that they have nothing better to do with their time.

“I don’t drive at all at the moment and have not done so for a while as I have had problems with my eyes.

“The police did call me, but they said they were taking no further action – I have not been prosecuted and I have no expectation of being so.”

Cllr Davies-Dear was hauled before the council sub-committee amid allegations the vehicle had not been taxed since May 2010 and that it had been seen on public roads – a claim he denied. However committee members ruled that he had broken a code of conduct for councillors on May 24 last year as he would have had to take a detour in an untaxed car to get to the council meeting.

He added that he had been in the process of transferring ownership of the car to his son and set out when he had not taxed his car and when he had acquired a statutory off road notice.

Editor's Comment

"Is Eastleigh getting like a police state?" Read more of editor Ian Murray's views on this story on his blog.

He also referred to a period in March 2011 when he had driven locally at a time when he claimed there had been complications in the processing of his tax disc application.

Cllr Bicknell told the Daily Echo that he had “no axe to grind at all” in taking the footage.

“There is no other reason than I thought it was inappropriate for a member of Eastleigh Borough Council to be driving on the road in a car that did not have the necessary documentation.”

Cllr Trenchard added: “We were not out to get him at all. It was just a case of us being in the area doing something else when we noticed it. It is disappointing the way it has gone. There was no malicious intent at all.”

And Cllr Thomas said: “It was purely chance that we were there and happened to drive past. The law says you have to have your car taxed.”