9/14/2008UK: Camera Operators Offer Reward to Capture Vigilantes
West Yorkshire, UK speed camera officials offer reward for capture of anti-camera vigilantes.
Speed camera operators in the UK are uneasy over the steadily increasing number of cameras sabotaged by vigilantes. In response, the West Yorkshire Speed Camera Partnership announced last week that it would give £500 (US $1000) to anyone providing information leading to the conviction of a camera vigilante. Each successful attack on an automated ticketing machine cuts deeply into the revenue stream of camera operations where profit from each citation is sent to the treasury and then returned to local officials who must also pay for replacement units. These officials downplayed the number of attacks.
"It's not a big or growing issue in West Yorkshire and we aim to keep it that way," speed camera spokesman Philip Gwynne told the Telegraph and Argus newspaper.
Nonetheless, a speed camera on Otley Road in Undercliffe was recently knocked over. Another was cut down by an angle grinder. One was incinerated with a burning tire. Police throughout the UK have had little success in identifying those responsible for similar incidents nationwide.
Last Sunday in Buckinghamshire, for example, a speed camera was set on fire on the North Orbital Road in Denham. The 9:30pm attack did not succeed in damaging the internal workings of the camera. One resident offered an explanation of why locals might be reluctant to turn in vigilantes.
"That camera is quite notorious around here and it gets a lot of people," Michael Shire, 52, told the Buckinghamshire Advertiser newspaper. "Quite often it gets drivers who are only going slightly more than the 30 MPH speed limit, so it is quite unpopular.... I wouldn't condone [the attack] but it is an interesting way of getting the message across."