SPEED camera vigilantes have struck again – without realising they were destroying an empty housing instead of a Gatso device.

The camera site near the Bear Cross roundabout was targeted on the morning of Tuesday, January 26, when a flaming car tyre was slung around it.

The value of the damage is being assessed.

This is at least the fourth speed camera site to be targeted in East Dorset.

During August there were attacks at Ringwood Road in Verwood and at Three Legged Cross, and then a third in Longham in November.

Dorset Police said they were keeping an open mind about whether the attacks were linked.

Dorset Fire and Rescue service said the Redhill station crew were called out at 3.38am. A spokesman said: “You are taking firefighters away from real emergencies. Any arson is dangerous and thoughtless.

“The cameras are there to stop people speeding. Our crews regularly deal with traffic accidents.”

The Bear Cross camera site was set up in September 2003 to enforce a 30mph speed limit.

In the five years before it was installed there were three serious and 14 slight injuries at the site.

In the five years afterwards there were two serious and 24 slight injuries.

Gatso cameras are understood to cost up to £40,000 to install.

Dorset Safety Camera Partnership has 38 cameras in the county.

Dorset Police recently announced plans to slowly phase out the majority of fixed cameras in the county and replace them with cameras that measure average speed.

Cllr Claire Smith, a ward councillor covering Bear Cross, said: “Most people speed up and slow down between them and unfortunately I don’t think they are that effective.”

l Police are urging anyone with information about the incidedent to contact them on 01202 222222 or the anonymous and confidential Crimestoppers hotline on 0800 555 111.