Speed camera nets £4,000 in two hours

By Danielle NuttallFRESH controversy blew up last night over the siting of mobile speed cameras after 68 drivers were caught on a country road in two hours, netting more than £4,000 in fines.

By Danielle Nuttall

FRESH controversy blew up last night over the siting of mobile speed cameras after 68 drivers were caught on a country road in two hours, netting more than £4,000 in fines.

The speed camera was placed on the A1088 at Fakenham Magna, near Bury St Edmunds, very early in the morning and within yards of the end of the 30mph speed limit.

Each driver breaking the 30mph speed limit faced a £60 fine and three penalty points, totting up a total of £4,080. They were all caught between 6.17am and 8.18am on July 2.

The income received is used to fund the operating costs of the cameras, with the remaining cash returned to the Government.

But one angry motorist, whose wife was caught driving at 46mph, claimed the camera position was just yards from a national speed limit sign where the limit increased to 60mph.

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He branded the early morning checks a “money-making exercise” and felt police officers would be better off being deployed elsewhere to tackle crime.

“I think in dangerous places and in areas where there are a lot of buildings or children or schools I entirely agree with them, but on a country road like that at 6am in front of a national speed limit sign is entirely ludicrous,” he said.

“If you set a camera up at 6am on a road where there is practically no traffic, I think the full objective is to make money.

“It's sneaky. My point is they don't use the cameras entirely for road safety - they use them for making £4,000 in under two hours.

“If at night they have only got one officer that can police Halesworth, how can they send one there at that time in the morning to do speed checks?”

The East Anglian Daily Times revealed on Tuesday Pc Christopher Sadler's frustration at the dwindling number of bobbies on the beat after he was the only officer left to patrol Halesworth.

Terry Marsh, project manager of Suffolk SafeCam, which was set up to manage the county's speed camera sites, said it was “preposterous” to suggest the cameras were a way of making money.

“We are not working as revenue collectors for the Government. The Government certainly does not put us under any pressure to get more and more income,” he added.

“The purpose is to prevent accidents by getting people to obey the speed limits and so far we have been quite successful in doing that.”

Mr Marsh continued: “It's an A road and one of the major routes up to Thetford and also into Norfolk and is quite a busy route particularly at commuting times.

“Unfortunately, many of them do not bother to slow down through the villages. This is why the enforcement takes place at a variety of times during a 24-hour period.

“Just because it is not in office hours does not mean the speed limits do not apply.”

One resident living in Fakenham Magna said it had to put up with hundreds of motorists speeding through the village day and night.

“We have over 50 children in this village and a lot of elderly people. The speed limit is essential, however unfair people may think,” he said.

“Motorbikes go raging through the village at night and they are not caught, it's just unfortunate that other people do.”

A spokesman for motoring organisation AA said: “Speed limits are applied in a particular area for a good reason. If the road has a very poor safety record, regardless of the time the speed limit still applies.

“Having said that, the whole credibility of the speed camera debate is once again opened because motorists want to feel confident, whether handheld or static, they are there to save lives and reduce speed and not to be seen as a quick and easy revenue exercise.”

He added: “One would urge the authorities that if the road has a poor safety record then surely the justification is to help rather than catch motorists in this fashion.

“We are talking about adequate signage and advanced warning signs advising motorists to slow down.

“We do hear of cases where motorists are caught unaware and it might be wise for the actual position to be revised.”

n What do you think? Write to EADT letters.


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