Vandal strikes

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    It is tragic that Claire has lost her life. This is another fine example of the hideous use of speed cameras. Claire was hit by, Richard Taylor a 17 year old who was banned from driving, uninsured and over the drink-driving limit. Surely better/more policing would help in this situation. Cameras can only detect one offence, and in this case it would probably have been too late.

    Vandal strikes at new death road camera
    New Death road camera?
    Vandals who attacked a brand new speed camera installed at a spot where a young mother was killed by a drink-driver have been warned they will not halt a police crackdown on dangerous driving on the road.
    A ski-masked vandal was spotted spray-painting over the lens of the camera on Front Street, Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, Northumberland last weekend.
    It was installed following growing public concern about dangerous driving on the straight stretch of road which came to a head after the tragic death of Claire McMillan, 22, in 2002.
    Claire, a single mum with a three-year-old son, was walking along Front Street with her friend Joanne Batey when they were hit by a car driven by Richard Taylor, 17, who was banned from driving, uninsured and over the drink-driving limit.
    The speed camera was installed at a cost of £20,000 following a campaign by local people and councillors, including a 1,600-name petition, for safety measures and action to target `boy racers.’ It has not yet been switched on because warning signs for motorists have still to be put up.
    Yesterday Wansbeck councillor Alan Thompson, who lives in Front Street said: “This incident is outrageous but it will in no way affect the efforts to reduce the number of accidents and cut the speed of traffic on this road.
    “We have terrible problems with kids racing up and down here in cars. We are very grateful to the police for acting on the concerns of local people because the camera has already had an impact on traffic speed, even though it has not been switched on yet.”
    Ashington-based Northumbria Police Insp Paul Truscott said: “We have had a lot of concerns voiced by residents and councillors about dangerous driving and speeding vehicles on Front Street. We have had positive feedback since installing this camera and using other tactics, including mobile speed cameras.
    “I totally condemn this vandalism of the camera but from the police point of view it won’t have any effect on our efforts to make that road safer.”Local county councillor Tom Saunders said: “This attack was completely irresponsible and to do this at a spot where a person has died is beyond belief. It could be part of a national campaign to damage speed cameras but my belief is that it was done by someone local who wants to continue using Front Street as a racetrack.”
    Richard Taylor, of Storey Crescent, Newbiggin, was jailed for seven years in August for causing Claire McMillan’s death by dangerous driving. He also admitted drink-driving, having no insurance and driving while disqualified.
    Yesterday Joanne Batey, 22, who was injured in the accident, said: “What happened to the camera is absolutely disgusting. Some people still speed on Front Street even after all that has happened there.”
    Hundreds of speed cameras all over the country have been wrecked or damaged by vigilantes involved with anti-camera groups such as Motorists Against Detection (MAD), some of whom post pictures of the results of their vandalism on internet websites.

    Best Regards
    Stuart XV16

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