DOZENS of motorists are set to escape speeding fines after it emerged some key road signs had gone missing in Poole.

The 30mph boards, which warn of a change of speed limit from 50mph, disappeared from Holes Bay Road, just before the Sterte Road traffic lights, last week.

However, the controversial “speed on green” cameras at the Sterte junction were still flashing drivers exceeding 30mph.

But with no indication for motorists as to the change in speed limit, experts said any tickets would be null and void.

Richard Bentley, an independent traffic signs and regulations consultant, said the absence of signs meant no driver could be convicted.

The Dorset Safety Camera Partnership, which enforces speeding fines, confirmed penalty notices could not be issued where “legally required speed limit signage” was not in place.

It is believed the signs went missing – presumed stolen – on Thursday and temporary 30mph signs were only put up on Saturday afternoon.

It means there was a period of up to 48 hours when motorists may have been flashed by the camera without any signs being in place. Anyone issued with a ticket from this period is therefore likely to have a strong case for having the fine scratched.

Poole council, which is responsible for the upkeep of road signs, said permanent replacement signs were in place by Monday.

Driver David Mallinson said he noticed last week’s lack of signage having previously been a victim of the Holes Bay cameras.

“Everyone was being caught when the last visible sign said 50mph,” he said.

Johnny Stephens, head of fixed penalties for the DSCP, condemned the alleged theft of the 30mph signs.

He said: “The theft of speed limit signage is wholly irresponsible behaviour that could endanger people’s lives.”

Dorset Police have launched an investigation into the signs’ disappearance.