Benhall: Speed camera targeted by arsonists
PUBLISHED: 06:00 25 July 2011
JUST hours after an announcement that the county’s speed cameras were being switched back on, one of them was targeted by arsonists.
A tyre was placed over the safety camera on the A12 at Benhall, near Saxmundham, in the early hours of Saturday and set alight.
The incident happened at just before 1am and a crew from Saxmundham was sent to the scene.
The flames were extinguished by 1.10am but the camera was visibly damaged.
The arson attack was reported on the Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service Facebook page and by last night 23 people had “liked” the news that the speed camera had been targeted.
In Saturday’s East Anglian Daily Times, which went to press at about the same time as the incident, it was reported that, following safety fears, it had been agreed that the county’s speed cameras would be reactivated.
They had been switched off in a bid to save an annual £1million but at a meeting on Friday of the Suffolk Police Authority (SPA) it was agreed that a decision on the long-term future of the speed camera network should be postponed until later in the year.
Suffolk County Council had voted to pull out of the Suffolk Safecam Partnership in January. It stopped any funding in April and said it would cease speed camera operations by the start of July.
The cameras were switched off on July 1 although the boxes were left in place.
But confirmation the speed cameras have been reinstalled came on Friday after a meeting of the SPA, which had raised concerns about the switch-off.
Despite the rethink there are still doubts over how many there will be in the future and where they will be sited.
SPA has commissioned a review of the devices, to consider their cost, effectiveness and whether digital technology needs to be introduced.
The issue will be discussed further at a meeting of the Suffolk Road Safety Partnership in September where a long-term plan to keep the cameras operating will be thrashed out.
On Friday Joanna Spicer, chairman of SPA, said: “We, together with the council, are committed to enhancing road safety in Suffolk and this demonstrates our partnership-approach to reducing road crash casualties.”
A police spokesman said the fire was being treated as an arson attack and any witnesses should contact officers on 01473613500.