Speed camera felled at accident spot
A SPEED camera has been pulled down on a notorious stretch of the A14 in Suffolk and the mechanism inside stolen, police have revealed.Officials admitted last night that those responsible had gone to a “great deal of trouble” to get their hands on the camera at the Haughley bends.
A SPEED camera has been pulled down on a notorious stretch of the A14 in Suffolk and the mechanism inside stolen, police have revealed.
Officials admitted last night that those responsible had gone to a “great deal of trouble” to get their hands on the camera at the Haughley bends.
The culprits drove a vehicle into a field near the road and attached a chain or rope to the camera to rip it down. They then left the concrete base and mains cabling exposed and pulled the cabinet housing the camera and radar off, before stealing them.
The camera, on the eastbound carriageway of the A14 near Stowmarket, is one of four permanent cameras on the Haughley bends area of the road.
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The stretch of road is designated an accident reduction zone and cameras help enforce a 50mph limit through the bends, to try and prevent deaths or serious accidents.
Michelle Finnerty, spokeswoman for Suffolk SafeCam, the organisation which operates the cameras, insisted it would be replaced after the attack.
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She said mobile cameras would be used in the meantime to ensure motorists stick to the 50mph limit. Damage to the camera is still being assessed, but it will run into thousands of pounds, she added.
She said: “The camera has been attacked, it's been completely ripped out of the ground and investigations are ongoing at the moment. The concrete bit it was set in is out as well, someone has gone to a great deal of trouble.
“But this won't be effecting our operations, mobile enforcement will be undertaken in the area and the camera will be replaced. The cameras have been extremely effective in reducing the number of collisions in that accident reduction zone.
“We need a limit there for a very good reason. Residents in the village of Haughley are very supportive of the cameras there because it slows traffic down and allows them to get on and off the road safely.''
Mike Nunn, a Suffolk Constabulary spokesman, said the cameras were in place for the safety of other road users and the vandalism, which is thought to have taken place one day last week, will not be tolerated.
Suffolk SafeCam say figures released at the beginning of the year showed the annual rate of casualties killed or seriously injured at sites where safety cameras have been introduced fell from 129 in 2003 to 25 in 2004.
The annual rate of collisions at sites where cameras now operate had also dropped from 173 in 2003, to 104 in 2004. In addition to the significant reduction in casualties, there has also been a reduction in the severity of injuries incurred.
n Anyone who witnessed the incident should contact the Pc James Brinsley on 01473 613500.