Sadiq Khan slams blowing up of Ulez camera as ‘grotesquely irresponsible’

Counter-terror police are leading an investigation after the camera was damaged in an explosion in Sidcup, southeast London on Wednesday night

Athena Stavrou
Friday 08 December 2023 14:01 GMT

Related video: Explained: London’s Ulez scheme and how it works

Sadiq Khan has branded the destruction of an ultra low emission zone (Ulez) camera using an explosive device “grotesquely irresponsible”.

Counter-terrorism officers from the Metropolitan police are investigating the incident in Sidcup where the camera was blown up using a “low-sophistication improvised explosive device” (IED).

A spokesperson for the Mayor of London called the incident “grotesquely irresponsible” and said it put lives at risk.

The incident, which is not being treated as terrorism, is believed to have been a “deliberate act”, according to the Metropolitan Police.

A spokesman for Mr Khan said: “This grotesquely irresponsible behaviour puts both lives and property at risk.

“Police are rightly investigating this dangerous and reckless act.”

The Metropolitan Police said a ‘low-sophistication’ improvised device damaged the Ulez camera in Willersley Avenue, Sidcup at around 6.45pm.

The force said the camera had been cut down at around 5.30pm and members of the public reported the explosion around 90 minutes later.

The Met said officers were keeping an open mind if there was a link between the camera being cut down and the explosive device being planted.

No one was injured but vehicles and a residential property also suffered damage.

It comes as figures released by the Met in November showed nearly 1,000 crimes linked to Ulez cameras being stolen or vandalised have been recorded in the past seven months.

Since the scheme’s expansion, there have been a number of incidents linked to Ulez cameras being stolen or vandalised

The Ulez zone was expanded in August to cover all of London’s 32 boroughs. Those who drive in the area with a vehicle that does not meet emission standards are then charged a £12.50 fee.

Detective Chief Superintendent Trevor Lawry said: “It is extremely concerning that an explosive device seems to have been deliberately placed in a public place.

“This could have very easily resulted in members of the public being very seriously injured.

“Because of the seriousness of this incident, we are making urgent inquiries to try and identify anyone involved, and officers with specialist expertise and capability from our Counter Terrorism Command are leading the investigation.

“This was an extremely dangerous incident that could have resulted in innocent members of the public being injured or worse.”

No arrests have been made and the remains of an IED are being forensically examined and officers are examining CCTV footage from the area.

Police are advising anyone who sees “suspicious activity or a suspicious device on or nearby to a Ulez” camera not to approach it and to call 999 immediately.

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