Village anger leads to speeding campaign

VILLAGERS fed up with motorists speeding through their communities are spending thousands of pounds buying a speed camera to catch the culprits.

VILLAGERS fed up with motorists speeding through their communities are spending thousands of pounds buying a speed camera to catch the culprits.

Residents at three villages near Stowmarket will be trained to the same standard as the police by Suffolk Constabulary to use the Home Office approved equipment.

Anyone caught will be written to by the force, if they are caught a second time by the volunteers they will receive a stronger letter, and for a third offence, will be prosecuted.

Officers will also keep a database, recording information about those drivers who have been spotted speeding.

Residents, who will carry identification, will be out in pairs wearing high visibility jackets at 30mph sites assessed as suitable for them to be at by the authorities.

Richard Brice, chairman of Great Finborough Parish Council, said he hoped the move by his community with neighbouring Hitcham, Bildeston, would improve safety on the B1115.

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The camera, warning road signs and reflective clothing will cost a total of about £3,000 and he said:

“Speeding is a big problem locally, particularly in Great Finborough, where we have a fairly straight stretch of road.

“It's very difficult to get regular police speed checks because of resource issues. We would rather the police were out catching rapists and burglars and this is a pragmatic solution. This is something where we can do something ourselves to influence our own community.”

John Matthissen, a Green mid Suffolk district councillor who represents Great Finborough, said speeding is an issue that is discussed at virtually every parish council meeting and effects people's quality of life.

He said; “It's a pity it has to be done by volunteers to support police work, but we do understand they have more pressing issues to deal with.”

Chief Inspector Martin Barnes-Smith, from the roads policing department at the force' headquarters, said: “We are not passing our role to the community, what we are saying is that this is another tool in our tool box to change driver's behaviour.”

Villagers anticipate the scheme will be operational by the end of the year and would run weekly initially, in different locations.