Speed camera fire puts lives at risk

ANGRY residents in Tickenham say their lives are being put at risk by vandals who continue to torch and damage the village's speed camera

ANGRY residents in Tickenham say their lives are being put at risk by vandals who continue to torch and damage the village's speed camera.In the latest incident in the early hours of Monday, hooligans drove a Ford Fiesta under the camera at Clevedon Road and set light to it.A fierce blaze soon took hold of the car, which is thought to have been doused with an accelerant, spreading to the speed camera and the electricity pole next to it.At one point flames licked up to 40 ft in the air and spread to bushes and gardens of nearby properties.Resident Alan Burnell, aged 65, who lives opposite the camera, rang the fire brigade after being woken by the blaze.Mr Burnell said: "The car and camera went up like a roman candle and flames reached right up to the top of the lamppost."The road was closed and there were lots of firefighters trying to put out the blaze which was very fierce."This sort of vandalism puts people's lives at risk as there are lots of properties nearby and the fire could have spread."It is a bit of a dramatic way to avoid getting a speeding fine and three points."Neighbour John Hirst, aged 18, was also woken by the sound of loud crackling and rushed outside his Clevedon Road home to see what was going on.John, a student, said: "The pole was on fire and there was electricity sparks flying off of it and shooting high into the air."It was one hell of a wake up call at 2.45am in the morning."Power in the village was affected by the blaze and went off at around 3.30am with electricity teams working through the night to restore supplies by 6am.Police say they are treating the fire as suspicious and have launched an investigation into the blaze in conjunction with the fire brigade.This is the third time the camera, which is owned and operated by Safecam, has been damaged.Safecam spokesman David Gollicker said: "This camera is very close to residential properties."One day someone is going to be seriously hurt because of these types of incidents - it is only a matter of time."The camera is situated just a few hundred yards away from the village primary school, which relies on it to help slow down traffic through the village.Mr Gollicker added: "We are providing a service to protect the public and the schoolchildren."But it seems as if the people who carried out this attack are very selfish with little regard for others safety."A team from Safecam was due to inspect the camera on Monday. Police are urging anyone with information about the incident to contact them.

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