AN EYE surgeon who reached speeds of more than 90mph on the M5 as he raced to meet his elderly mother for a birthday lunch has escaped losing his licence.

Michael Potts, 60, was caught travelling at 92mph northbound on the M5 near junction 13 at 8.55am on Thursday, July 12 last year.

Stroud Magistrates' Court was told that Potts was racing to his mother's home in Derby to celebrate her birthday and was running late.

At the time of the incident, Potts already had nine points on his licence for speeding offences and the four imposed at Wednesday's hearing meant the total now breached the 12 allowed - therefore he should have lost his licence.

But Tony Miles, for the defence, said this would cause 'exceptional hardship' to those whom he cared for which included his mother and his patients.

"The defendant's mother suffers from severe Parkinson's disease and was taken into Buxton Hospital in Derbyshire in December where she is dying," said Mr Miles.

"My client visits his mother on average every fortnight which makes his ability to drive essential."

Mr Miles also explained that Potts, of Whitethorn Vale, Bristol, was an eye surgeon who primarily performs cataract operations.

Potts provided his patients with his mobile phone number which they were able to call in the 24 hours after an operation.

"This is the period when patients are at the highest risk of infection and Potts needs to be able to respond immediately which makes his mobility core to his patient care," added Mr Miles.

David Rockey, chairman of the bench, said: "We believe that if you were to be disqualified from driving then there would be exceptional hardship to both your patients and your mother."

The court allowed him to keep his licence.

Besides the four penalty points, Potts, whose website says he is a consultant at Bristol Eye Hospital who also operates at other centres in the city, was also ordered to pay a £500 fine, £35 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.