ANGRY motorists appear to have taken their revenge after two speed cameras were torched in the space of just over a week.
Police are investigating after the GATSO machine was set alight in the early hours of Saturday at Ringwood Road, Verwood.
A member of staff at the nearby Verwood Surplus Stores said: “Someone probably got caught during the day and thought they’d come back at night. We don’t get a lot of trouble around here. It was a surprise to see it down when we went out in the morning.”
The previous weekend, the camera at Horton Road, near Three Legged Cross, was set on fire at around 3.35am on Saturday.
Mike Jackson, crew manager at Verwood Fire Station said: “To have two in one week is very uncommon for this area.
“It almost makes you wonder if it’s an organised thing to get rid of speed cameras.
“The damage to the cameras was quite severe. Certainly the lenses and the glass at the front had completely disintegrated.”
Last week the Echo revealed that Bournemouth councillors are to consider the controversial idea of scrapping speed cameras in the town – though any such plan would not affect cameras outside the borough.
A council committee will look at whether the 20 fixed speed cameras in the town do a good job in reducing vehicle speeds and preventing collisions.
And it will also decide whether Bournemouth should follow the example of Swindon and turn off its cameras, ploughing money into other road safety schemes instead.
The 38 fixed cameras across the county are operated by the Dorset Safety Camera Partnership and the two incidents in East Dorset are not the first.
The camera near Cemetery Junction on Wimborne Road in Bournemouth was sprayed over earlier this year and previously the one on Wessex Way approaching the Frizzell roundabout was damaged by fire.
A survey by satellite navigation system company Road Angel found that up to 16 per cent of people support the illegal destruction of speed cameras by ‘vigilante’ gangs.
Cllr Spencer Flower, leader of East Dorset District Council, said he was “shocked” by the damage.
He said: “I couldn’t understand how they managed to burn them both out unless someone put some sort of incendiary device in there.
“There are all sorts of arguments about the benefits of having fixed cameras. I think there’s probably more to be gained in having mobile cameras.
“I shall be interested to see what develops from the Bournemouth initiative. We will look at how the accident record compares before and since we had cameras.”
Speed indicator devices may well be more effective in getting people to abide by the speed limit, he added.