Lee Ryan, a member of the British pop band Blue, has told Peterborough Magistrates Court that he is unable to pay his £1,500 driving fine after being caught speeding last year.

The 38-year-old singer was charged with driving at 70mph in a 60mph zone, on two occasions in August 2020. The initial charges were dismissed, as it could not be proven that Ryan was in the driver’s seat—he claimed it was his girlfriend that was driving. However, Ryan was later found guilty of failing to provide information relating to a driver’s identification.  

Ryan lamented he could not pay the fine and cited the COVID-19 pandemic as the primary reason behind his loss of income. The courts concurred that the UK music industry has taken a massive financial hit from the global pandemic, and only fined Ryan for a single offence.

Speaking remotely from Spain, Ryan told Peterborough Magistrates Court: “I just don’t have the money… I haven’t got anything… I’m not working. I mean, they’ve stopped the gigs. I don’t have any gigs.” The artist reiterated that the pandemic had forced his hand in spending his savings, meaning he cannot pay the fine in question.

Ryan was an active member of Blue from 2000 up until their first split in 2005. They released three No. 1 albums—All I RiseOne Love and Guilty—from 2001-2003. The group achieved multi-platinum plaques and nationwide success with their singles “Best In Me”, “All I Rise” and “One Love”. The band reunited in 2011 to represent the UK at the Eurovision song contest, finishing in 11th place. Since then, they have remained relatively active, releasing two more albums and numerous solo projects. 

The courts have currently issued a 12-month driving ban for Ryan and have stated that if he doesn’t pay his fine, he could face time in prison.