Britain’s ‘busiest speed camera’ that raked in an estimated £5million in fines is faulty police have now revealed, as furious motorists slam the force for keeping the flawed device up.
The 30mph speed camera in Maybray King Way, Southampton, caught 51,049 motorists driving over the limit between 2015 and 2017, triggering more than 320 times a week at its peak.
The minimum fine for exceeding the 30mph limit in that area is £100 and it is understood the camera will have brought in more than £5.1m in revenue from drivers over a three year period.
But Hampshire Police has now admitted the speed-busting camera has been recording ‘incorrect readings’ for vehicles with a ‘high flat rear’ – meaning any number of drivers could now be owed refunds.
The rear-facing device, which records motorists’ speed after they passed it, remains in place on the dual carriageway, as those caught by the speed-busting camera slam the inaccurate readings.
Motorists driving taller vehicles, including vans, motorhomes, lorries and more have borne the brunt of the false camera activations, MailOnline understands.
The ‘faulty’ 30mph speed camera in Maybray King Way, Southampton (above), caught 51,049 motorists driving over the limit between 2015 and 2017
The minimum fine for exceeding the 30mph limit in that area is £100 and it is understood the camera will have brought in more than £5.1m in revenue from drivers over a three year period
At its peak, the camera caught 70 motorists a day between 2015 and 2017 – with revenue in those three years alone estimated to be more than £5m.
But Hampshire Police has now warned that has been activating in error, meaning hundreds of drivers may have faced punishment unnecessarily.
Responding to the news, a drivers’ organisation today called on authorities to refund every driver fined as a result of being recorded by the camera.
Two drivers have been able to prove they were incorrectly penalised, with NHS IT worker Nathan Thompson saying he could have lost his job over the matter.
Mr Thompson was flashed by the camera as he drove his motorhome at 25mph in August, but was thankfully able to prove the mistake using his dash camera footage.
After receiving a letter which said he could be prosecuted for travelling at twice his actual speed – in excess of 50mph – the 37-year-old fought back against the fine and saw it quashed.
Map shows the camera on Maybray King Way, Mr Thompson was travelling from west to east when it wrongly recorded him doing 50mph
The 10 UK speed cameras which have caught the most speeders
1. A3024 Maybray King Way, Southampton – 51,049
2. M62 westbound J20 and J19, Greater Manchester – 38,836
3. A282 Dartford-Thurrock crossing, Essex – 38,729
4. A217 Southend arterial road, Essex – 37,950
5. A12 near Stratford St Mary, Suffolk – 36,753
6. North Road, Cardiff, south Wales – 35,884
7. A1 Barrowby Thorns, Lincolnshire – 30,835
8. A45 Ryton Bridge flyover, near Coventry – 27,942
9. M11 near Luxborough Lane Road, Chigwell, Essex – 26,810
10. M4 Port Talbot, south Wales – 25,548
(Activations in calendar years 2015, 2016 and 2017, police data via FOI)
Mr Thompson said: ‘If I was in a hire car or a work car and from outside the area and I didn’t have proof of going 25mph I’d have had to pay it, so I wonder how many other people have been in a similar situation with that camera, as it’s the most profitable in the country.
‘If I didn’t have the evidence that I was going 25mph, then it would have ended up with me going to court.
‘I’d have lost my job. That technology shouldn’t go wrong. It has the potential to seriously ruin lives.’
The rear-facing camera, which records motorists’ speed after passing, remains in place on the dual carriageway. There is a similar camera on the other side recording motorists travelling in the opposite direction as well.
The Alliance of British Drivers today said every driver snapped by the camera and consequently fined should now be refunded.
Hugh Bladon, one of the founding members of the organisation, said: ‘We are aware that sometimes cameras are not exactly accurate.
‘But for this camera to be recording a driver as travelling at 50mph, something is seriously wrong.
‘Every driver, regardless of what speed he has been shown doing by this camera, should have their fine refunded and any points removed.
‘If people, as a result of this camera, have to do a speed awareness course, that should be refunded as well as together with compensation for the time that the person has had to spend completing it.’
A Hampshire Constabulary spokesperson said: ‘We are aware of an issue with the camera on Maybray King Way, which can lead to incorrect readings with vehicles with a high flat rear.
‘Our Summary Justice Unit has thorough processes in place to ensure that we prevent any incorrect prosecutions occurring.
‘There have been two cases in which we have identified this issue and have stopped proceedings.’
- Have you been caught by this camera? e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
The busiest ten speed cameras in the country caught 350,000 speeders in three years