MORE than a quarter of all fixed speed cameras in Lincolnshire are currently out of action because of vandalism, the Echo can reveal today.
Operator Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership warned that lives are at risk because 15 of the 52 operational cameras in the county have been set on fire or damaged in other ways.
The Echo has now learned that a digital upgrade of damaged cameras is on hold pending the outcome of the Government’s spending review next month.
Continued monitoring at the sites where cameras are inoperative suggests speeds have increased, officials say.
A camera at the A15 Metheringham southbound was torched in April. The number of vehicles driving above the 60mph speed limit per day rocketed from 10 in December 2007 to 2,769 in August.
A camera on the A15 at Atterby, near Market Rasen, was set on fire in April. The average number of speeding vehicles daily increased from five in June 2008 to 1,432 last month.
Greville Burgess, principal road safety co-ordinator of the Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership, said: “The damage to speed cameras is a criminal act and the people responsible are endangering lives.
“The evidence suggests that when cameras aren’t operating, drivers have a tendency to increase their speed, putting them in inherent danger.
“Any deliberate act of damage against speed cameras is not only criminal, but is potentially life-threatening.”
The partnership has said it can still operate its speed camera sites, despite Government cuts.
Retired engineer John Bishop, 73, and other North Hykeham residents have succeeded in getting a speed camera van to monitor speed in Meadow Lane, near the junction of Sharp Walk.
He said: “We would ideally like a fixed camera site here.