Sometimes the best stories come from small beginnings - our first text in today came from Mark in Broughshane who wanted to know what those small black boxes on poles at the side of lots of our roads are- facing in opposite directions?
Well - no sooner had I read that out and put the question than dozens of helpful Talkback listeners weighed in - they're for checking tax, for speeding, for spotting congestion, for catching terrorists, for reading number plates, for catching drivers without insurance - you name it.
And it turned out - many of you were right. I know because Basil McCrea UUP MLA and member of the Policing Board called in - you can hear him on the Talkback podcast today - to say yes, they were "ANPR cameras" - numberplate recognition technology for use in fighting terrorism and motoring offences.He said they'd been sanctioned and paid for under the auspices of the Policing Board. I asked how much they'd cost but he wasn't at liberty to tell me - millions? Yes. Ten million? Couldn't tell me he said. But other texters said we have a right to know - its our money .
Our caller John said there weren't enough of them but had a go at Basil anyway, while others said they'd been stopped by police road checks after passing the ANPR cameras, and asked about their insurance.
So what's your view - if you're paying your road tax and insurance, are they good for catching people who aren't, who're breaking the law? Are they an eyesore - a distraction on the roads? Or has big brother gone a step too far this time? Why not tell William tomorrow - I'm having a lie-in...and have a good weekend!