A battle of wills appears to be brewing along a busy Shropshire road – between residents who want speed cameras and vandals intent on destroying them.
Holyhead Road – the former A5 trunk road – from Oakengates to Wellington has a 30mph speed limit, partly enforced by cameras operated by the West Mercia Safer Roads Partnership.
But a camera at Bennett’s Bank in Wellington was permanently removed in 2010 after it was repeatedly set on fire.
On January 4 this year arsonists attacked a camera on the Station Road stretch of the route, a short distance away in Ketley.
Then in the early hours of yesterday morning, a camera outside New College in King Street in Wellington, a short distance from the main road, was damaged after vandals set fire to it using an accelerant.
But the apparent public dislike of cameras contrasts sharply with calls for them to be introduced in areas where speeding traffic leaves residents in fear.
Wellington town councillors have now called for mobile cameras to be used at Bennett’s Bank, after claiming ‘boy racers’ have plagued the area since the camera was removed.
And last year Holyhead Road in Oakengates became a Community Concern site – an area where mobile speed cameras are set up in response to a series of complaints from members of the public.
Vicki Bristow, of the Safer Roads Partnership, said vandalism of speed cameras was not unique to Telford – and that the partnership also received requests daily from members of the public wanting to see them used.
She said: “Vandalism happens nationwide, but Telford is the area that suffers most in West Mercia, probably because it is the biggest urban area.
“Apart from minor damage to the casing, the camera set on fire in Wellington hasn’t been damaged at all so no offences have been lost.”
She said many people were under the impression that speed cameras were being turned off nationally – but that is not true.
She said: “We have some sites that drop off then new ones come up.
“And on a daily basis we get contacted by local residents asking: “Can we have speed enforcement?”