Speed trap alarms for drivers to be banned

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The Independent Online

Dashboard warning systems allowing motorists to outwit roadside cameras and police speed guns are to be outlawed by the end of the year.

Dashboard warning systems allowing motorists to outwit roadside cameras and police speed guns are to be outlawed by the end of the year.

Ministers are drawing up a law to ban sales of the hi-tech "radar defence" equipment which is proving increasingly popular as police act on speeding. "Given the sole purpose of these devices is to help drivers who speed avoid detection, the Government is seeking to make their use illegal," said a spokeswoman for the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions.

Since April, the police have introduced hundreds more cameras, leading to thousands of extra convictions.

The devices, which cost up to £700,detect cameras' laser and radar beams, sounding an alarm. Like other firms selling the device, Hampshire-based De-tech, which makes and sells about 1,200 kits annually, has reported a 20 per cent increase in sales since the spring.

Last month, the RAC described the clampdown as "the next poll tax" because of "anger aroused among motorists" by the cameras. Experiments allowing police forces to keep the money raised from speed fines have seen a big rise in the number of prosecutions - and a big increase in cameras.

The Association of Chief Police Officers insists, however, that income from cameras will be used only on road safety.

In Northamptonshire, prosecutions have leapt up, with motorists spotted speeding rising from 10 to 200 a day - 17,000 were caught between April and July, compared with 4,000 in the entire previous year. Thames Valley, South Wales, Essex, Cleveland, Lincolnshire and Strathclyde police, are also running the scheme.

The clampdown coincides with the launch of new digital street cameras, which can trap up to three drivers a second.

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