Speed fines rescinded after sign bungle

MOTORISTS will have speeding fines and penalty points rescinded after it emerged a cover fell off a 50mph limit sign in Suffolk where a temporary 30mph limit had been set.

By Sarah Chambers

MOTORISTS will have speeding fines and penalty points rescinded after it emerged a cover fell off a 50mph limit sign in Suffolk where a temporary 30mph limit had been set.

The 30mph restriction was imposed along a stretch of the A12 near Saxmundham while roadworks were being carried out at the end of last year.

But a spokesman for the Suffolk Safety Camera Partnership said it was only some time later that it emerged a cover had fallen off the regular 50mph sign - so motorists thought they could go the usual speed.


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Now, Suffolk Constabulary's central ticket office has written to motorists caught by a speed camera at the time to tell them they will not proceed with prosecution. Fixed penalties will be refunded and endorsements removed from driving licences.

Terry Marsh, project manager with the Suffolk Safety Camera Partnership, said the period of time involved was not thought to be long, but the precise numbers of motorists affected was not known.

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Notices of intended prosecution were sent out because they had to go out within 14 days, he said.

"It was not until some while after that process had happened that we actually knew there was a potential problem.

"Really anybody going through there should have erred on the side of caution. Hopefully those who are now having their fixed penalty notice cancelled will have learnt something from it and will not speed again," he said.

There were large 30mph signs in place along the road, he pointed out.

"We now have in place a different set of procedures which involve the signs being checked and logged at frequent and regular intervals throughout the night."

Saxmundham town councillor Graham Cooke, who was one of the motorists affected, wrote to the ticket office after he was sent a notice of intended prosecution for travelling at 41mph.

He wrote back to say that he was observing the 30mph limit, but after seeing the 50mph sign "clearly visible, with no other signs", he accelerated slightly.

"As I passed the speed camera, I was amazed to be 'flashed' as I was not exceeding the speed limit indicated on the sign prior to the camera," he said.

"As a local resident in the Saxmundham area I have witnessed many, many serious accidents at the Aldeburgh/A12 junction, and therefore fully support he installation of this speed camera. This installation has significantly reduced the accidents. As such I am pleased that it is there. Why would I speed through a camera that a) I am totally aware of, and b) I totally support."

Mr Cooke said he decided to contest the notice because he felt strongly he had acted within the law. He also provided photographic evidence of the 50mph sign.

He initially received a letter saying there appeared to be no grounds "for not proceeding with enforcement in this case", and had employed solicitors to make his case at a cost of around £250.

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