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Shamed Scots transport chief pleads guilty after driving illegal cloned car

A shamed public transport boss exposed by the Sunday Mail for driving an illegal cloned car has pled guilty to a motor offence and been fined more than £700.

Gordon Maclennan, who earned £153,527 a year in his job as chief executive of Strathclyde Partnership for Transport, was forced to quit after our investigation revealed the scam.

He was pictured by our photographer in a VW Passat at his holiday home on the Isle of Lewis in August while another vehicle with the same registration number sat in his office car park.

The scheme appears to have been motivated by a desire to save a few hundred pounds a year on road tax, MOT and insurance and is believed to have been going on for more than a decade.

Following our exclusive, an internal probe was launched at the SPT and, within days, the 73-year-old “retired” from his post – one of the best paid in the public sector.

Police Scotland reported him to the procurator fiscal in connection with “fraudulent use of a registration mark and a road traffic offence”.

MacLennan's VW Passat clone car at SPT offices on St Vincent Street.
A car with the same registration plate at the SPT office in Glasgow

A spokesman for Stornoway Sheriff Court has confirmed the businessman pled guilty to breaching the Vehicle Excise and Registration Act and was fined £706.

Car cloning is an illegal practice in which a car’s registration is placed on one of a similar make and model.

In the wake of the cloning revelations, we told of a rash of other SPT scandals on Maclennan’s watch. He came under fire in 2016 after it emerged minibuses bought for between £82,000 and £84,000 were later sold for as little as £450.

The SPT spent £7.5million buying more than 90 buses from firms including Allied Vehicles, where Maclennan had declared he was previously a board member.

In 2015 SPT directors, including Maclennan, were criticised over reports they had billed taxpayers for almost £50,000 in travel, hotel and entertainment costs that did not appear in published expenses.

The organisation also faced criticism in 2010 when a probe identified “serious deficiencies” in the way taxpayers’ cash was spent on trips to 17 countries. Taxpayers also footed a £6000 bill for staff to become members of Glasgow Golf Club for three years.

SPT said: “An internal investigation was carried out to look into allegations made against Mr Maclennan. The findings were reported to SPT Audit and Standards Committee.

“With regard to any financial package, no termination payment was sought or given.”

Maclennan declined to comment when contacted at his home in Renfrew last week.

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