A BUSINESSMAN caught driving at 120mph on a Somerset road has been allowed to keep his licence.

Douglas Edmunds, 43, from Andover, in Hampshire, was travelling on the A303 dual carriageway near Sparkford on May 29 last year when he was spotted by a policeman.

This was the third time he was caught speeding last year and he already had six points on his licence.

A uniformed police officer in an unmarked car spotted Edmunds driving in his BMW, worth around £40,000, on the A303. He stopped him and explained he was driving over the limit by 50mph.

But Edmunds' defence lawyer explained how the car, which had been purchased in a “mid-life crisis”, was "built for speed", and Edmunds hadn't realised he was going so fast. He pulled into lane one to let the car behind pass, without knowing it was a police car, before he was pulled over.

Normally, a person would be disqualified from driving if they received 12 points on their licence within three years.

Magistrates Dr Peter Reed and Deborah McInerney decided to give Edmunds, who is an associate director at BCMS, a company that advises company sales, an additional six points. But instead of disqualifying him, they said losing his licence would cause 'exceptional hardship' to himself and his family.

Defending, Mr Hills, explained how losing his licence would cause a host of problems for Edmunds, his wife Claire, and their four children.

A letter from Edmunds boss explained how 'his job would be in question' if he were to lose his licence, given his need to travel to visit important clients.

Their eldest son, a 16-year-old, is a budding athlete. Magistrates heard how without his father to drive him to and from his football and rugby sessions, he would miss out on 'discussing the game'.

All four children need to be taken to and from school, something they said Mrs Edmunds would not be able to do alone.

There were also doubts how the family would pay their £1,500 a month mortgage and £5,000 a term bill for his son's private school.

Edmunds explained how his lack of a licence would put 'pressure' on his wife and her parents to pick up the slack.

Mrs Edmunds, who runs her own company Clarify, which has around 80 staff, said: "We'd find a way to cope so the kids won't miss out, but it would put pressure on our routine and on my business."

While deliberating their sentence privately, Edmunds sat reading the Bible.

The magistrates allowed him to keep his licence, but warned this would be the last time they would be lenient towards him.

Dr Reed said: "We are still going to add six points to your licence, but we will not disqualify you.

"You must be more careful next time, as you won't be able to use these reasons for exceptional hardship again."

Edmunds pleaded guilty, and was fined £666, as well as £66 victim surcharge, and £85 costs.