Dangerous drivers who refuse to wear seat belts are using "dummy" clips so they don't set off car warning alarms.

Idiot motorists are risking lives - including their own - by inserting the controversial "dummy latch plates" into seat belt receivers.

Killer drivers Jack Pearson and Colin Smith both had the alarm "silencers" in place when they caused horrific crashes in Liverpool.

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Pearson wasn't wearing a seat belt when he killed 23-year-old Phillip Caine at 100mph on Queen's Drive in Walton.

Neither was Smith when he mowed down cyclists Clare Killey and Anthony Cope at 72mph in a stolen car in Speke.

The ECHO found the clips for sale from third-party sellers on Amazon and eBay, before both companies told us they were taking action.

The devices plug in like normal seat belts, but without the safety strap.

They allow motorists to disable the warning alarms that sound if a modern car is moving and the driver or passenger is not strapped in.

The clips, which sell for as little as £2 and often come with a bottle opener, are marketed as both seat belt alarm "silencers" and "stoppers".

They are legal if used to stop alarms going off when heavy items such as shopping bags on a passenger seat are mistaken by a car system for a human.

Car safety seat belt buckle or alarm stopper clips for sale on eBay.
Car safety seat belt buckle or alarm stopper clips for sale on eBay

But safety campaigners have slammed their illegal use, which they say puts drivers and passengers at a greater risk of dying if there is a crash.

Rebecca Needham, road safety officer for England at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), condemned their sale.

She said: "After a strenuous campaign by RoSPA, wearing seat belts became a legal requirement in 1983 for one very good reason - they save lives.

"Since then huge strides have been made towards reducing the number of fatal collisions on UK roads.

"Despite this progress, RoSPA is very concerned that any retailer would offer these alarm stoppers for sale. It's entirely inappropriate.

"While we know that some people are determined not to wear their seat belt, offering dummy seat belts or "alarm stoppers" for sale only serves as encouragement.

"The law and message is clear - belt up or risk putting yourself and others in harm's way."

The ECHO contacted Amazon, which is now in the process of removing the seat belt clips from Amazon.co.uk, for breaching its selling guidelines.

An Amazon spokesperson said: "Third party sellers are independent businesses and are required to follow our selling guidelines when selling in our store.

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The ECHO also contacted eBay about the devices, which are understood to be in violation of its 'encouraging illegal activity policy'.

An eBay spokesperson said: "These items are banned from eBay's platform. The listings were removed and we will take necessary action against the sellers."

Pearson, 28, of East Prescot Road, West Derby, was driving a "borrowed" Audi S3 Quattro when he hit Mr Caine's Ford Fiesta on January 25, 2019.

Liverpool Crown Court heard Pearson wasn't wearing a seatbelt and had a "dummy latch plate" fitted to deactivate the warning alarm in the Audi.

Jack Pearson, 28, of East Prescot Road, West Derby.
Jack Pearson, 28, of East Prescot Road, West Derby

Robert Dudley, prosecuting, said Pearson suffered a cut to his own arm in the collision, at around 10pm, while a rear seat passenger - who also wasn't wearing a seat belt - was injured when he flew forward and hit the back of the front seats and the windscreen.

Pearson, who had tried to blame his victim, was jailed for six years after he admitted causing death by dangerous driving.

Smith killed mum-of-two Mrs Killey, 45, from Childwall, and dad-of-two Mr Cope, 39, from Halewood, on Thursday, February 28, 2019.

The 23-year-old, of Lower Road, Halewood, also seriously injured Katy Nicholson, a passenger in another car, on Dunlop Road, at around 7pm.

Seat belt clips or car seat belt silencers for sale on Amazon.
Seat belt clips or car seat belt silencers for sale on Amazon

He was high on cannabis and driving a stolen Ford Fiesta ST Turbo but had the gall to blame an innocent driver for causing the fatal collision.

At a trial last month, Smith accepted he wasn't wearing a seat belt and said he was using a "latch plate" - "just like the end of the seat belt".

He claimed this device was in the car when he bought it and he had previously taken it out and put it back in, but couldn't remember when.

Ian Whitehurst, defending, said: "You accept Mr Smith it was a pretty damn stupid thing to do?" He answered: "Yeah."

Colin Smith outside Liverpool Crown Court.
Colin Smith outside Liverpool Crown Court

Under cross-examination, Smith accepted taking the latch plate out and putting it back in more than once, but when asked why, replied "not sure" and "I can't remember".

He said he couldn't think of any reason why he would use one, but agreed that without it or a seat belt a warning would sound.

Martine Snowdon, prosecuting, said: "Why do you think cars have seat belts Mr Smith?" "For safety," he answered.

She said: "For whose safety?" Smith replied: "The driver."

"Anyone else?" she asked. "Whoever is driving the car, whoever is in the car," he said.

Ms Snowdon said: "Not just who is in the car, it's for the safety of other road users as well, isn't it?"

"Well yeah," he replied.

Smith, who was convicted of two counts of causing death and one count of causing serious injury by dangerous driving, will be sentenced on June 24.

Merseyside Police said "around 20 people" who weren't wearing seat belts were killed or seriously injured in crashes in the region in 2020 and 2021.

The force said in 2020 alone, 1,515 people were prosecuted for seat belt offences across Merseyside, with anyone found guilty facing a £100 fine.

Pictured is Liverpool Crown Court

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Matrix roads policing inspector Stuart McIver said: "Merseyside Police regularly carries out enforcement aimed at drivers not wearing a seat belt while driving and we support the annual national campaign as not wearing a seatbelt is considered one of the 'fatal four' causes of road death in Great Britain."

He added: "Whether a driver or a passenger in a vehicle by simply spending two to three seconds putting on a seat belt you greatly reduce the risk of serious injury if involved in a crash."

Paul Mountford, from the force's Safer Roads Unit, added: "Modern car manufacturers invest millions into making their vehicles as safe as possible. Airbags are a 'secondary restraint system' (SRS) and will only be effective if a seat belt is worn.

"It only takes a matter of seconds to 'buckle up' but injuries caused by not wearing a seat belt may be life-changing."