Arsonists torch speed camera

ARSONISTS are being blamed for a fire which wrecked a speed camera on the Suffolk/Cambridgeshire border.A fire crew from Newmarket was called to deal with the fire in the camera on the Dullingham Road just outside the town in the early hours of Saturday morning.

ARSONISTS are being blamed for a fire which wrecked a speed camera on the Suffolk/

Cambridgeshire border.

A fire crew from Newmarket was called to deal with the fire in the camera on the Dullingham Road just outside the town in the early hours of Saturday morning.

A spokesman for the Suffolk Fire Service said the firefighters had the blaze in the roadside unit out within minutes but the camera is believed to have been totally destroyed in the 1.28am arson attack around 100 yards into Cambridgeshire.


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It is not known whether the attack was part of an orchestrated campaign against the cameras and no-one from Cambridgeshire police or Cambridgeshire County Council was available for comment yesterday.

In 2002, vandals left all the fixed speed camera sites in Suffolk out of order after a spate of attacks at accident blackspots. And last year campaigners claimed the cameras were being installed to bring in money rather than save lives.

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Lives were put at risk when four cameras on the A14 at Haughley, near Stowmarket, were targeted in 2002, as well as spy spots on the A140 at Coddenham, near Ipswich and the A12 at Benhall, near Saxmundham.

Police credit the cameras at Haughley with halving the number of accidents on that stretch of the road and at the time they said there had been no collisions at either Coddenham or Benhall since the new cameras were installed in early 2002.

Chief Inspector Mike Gooch of Suffolk police said: "These cameras were put in place to encourage drivers to adhere to restricted speed limits in areas where there was considered to be a high risk of accidents.

"By attacking the cameras these offenders have potentially put lives at risk."

Police have been pleased with the success of the £205,000 system that guards the 50mph limit stretch on the Haughley bends on the A14.

An arsonist damaged a camera in December last year, which was designed to slow down drivers on Normanston Drive, Lowestoft, after research showed that nearly three-quarters of passing motorists broke the speed limit there.

In Norfolk, a group calling themselves Motorists Against Detection Mad claimed responsibility for a spate of vandalism to speed cameras in the county in 2003.

Their spokesman, the self-styled Captain Gatso, said his units had been active in Norfolk. He stressed: "We do not think speed cameras are there to save lives."

However, the Norfolk Casualty Reduction Partnership estimated that 46 serious accidents had been avoided thanks to the introduction of the cameras hit by the group.

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