A TRAFFIC officer who used a legal loophole to avoid a speeding fine has been chosen to promote a road safety campaign.

News that PC David Burlingham is helping promote North Yorkshire police's Bike Week campaign, which includes warning riders to curb their speed, has been greeted with astonishment.

The 47-year-old hit the headlines with fellow officer Andrew McFarlane, 35, when they were snapped by a speed camera breaking the 50mph limit on the A171 in east Cleveland, a notorious accident blackspot.

But the case against the pair was dropped last month when they successfully argued that joint speed limit camera warning signs along that stretch of road were illegal because they had a black border and were not prescribed by the Department of Transport.

PC Burlingham's name is given as the contact for the force's BikeSafe initiative, aimed at lowering the number of motorcycle casualties.

Mick Bennett, of the Cleveland Safety Camera Partnership, said: "Maybe Mr Burlingham ought to examine his own driving standards before speaking on campaigns like this."

But he said: "We do applaud North Yorkshire Police's road safety initiatives."

Colin Moore, chief executive of Redcar and Cleveland Council, who called for disciplinary action against the two officers, said: "The public can draw their own conclusions over this. My chief concern is that the police might have been brought into disrepute and this does not help."

Mr Burlingham's role in the campaign was revealed in a letter to the national motorcycling press from the widow of a biker.

Suzanne Green, of Macclesfield, who had been attending a police speed reduction display in Scar- borough, North Yorkshire, wrote: "It makes you realise that the police don't always practise what they preach."

North Yorkshire Police said that PC Burlingham was entitled to speak about road safety as a member of the Road Policing Unit.

But a police spokeswoman had told the same biking magazine that PC Burlingham had "devised and was heading up" the Scarborough Bike Week campaign, which ended yesterday.

PC Burlingham was allegedly caught speeding while off duty on the A171 near Guisborough in July last year.

The charges were dropped and he and PC McFarlane were awarded costs after challenging the Crown Prosecution Service on the technicality.