Express & Star

Speed camera targeted by arsonists despite not working for FIVE years

It hasn’t caught a speeding motorist for almost five years – but this fixed speed camera on a busy Wolverhampton road was still seen as fair game by passing yobs.

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The burnt-out speed camera

The burned-out device was spotted on the Stafford Road by Express & Star photographer Tim Thursfield after becoming the target of arsonists.

He said: “I was surprised to see it but I suppose, whether switched on or off, they became objects of hate for motorists – it’s a symbolic thing.”

The familiar yellow facia was significantly fire-damaged in the attack. It is not known whether the internal camera was also affected.

Police did not want to comment on the attack.

All speed cameras in the West Midlands were switched off in 2013 in a drastic cost-cutting programme that saw more than two thirds of the region’s 305 fixed camera sites made redundant.

Arson attack

Instead cash-strapped police and councils switched to using mobile vans to catch drivers on the West Midlands’ busiest roads.

The arson attack comes just weeks after Police & Crime Commissioner David Jamieson announced he was in talks with councils in Dudley, Walsall, Sandwell and Wolverhampton to explore whether they were willing to part-fund a return of speed cameras.

It follows a pilot scheme in Birmingham and Solihull, which police say has led to a marked reduction in speeding.

Combined with mobile units and smart motorway cameras, the average speed cameras issued £8 million in fines over the trial period which will run until next month.

There are currently 160 mobile camera sites across the West Midlands.

Nationally it is believed half of UK road speed cameras are switched off.

Figures released by 36 police forces in the UK show that of a total 2,838 cameras, just 1,486 – or 52 per cent – are active and catching law-breakers