Beds, Herts & Bucks

A1 dummy speed camera removed after drivers catch on

Fake speed camera
Image caption Mr Lacey has now removed the fake camera from the side of his home

A road safety campaigner who built a fake speed camera from guttering and drainpipe has taken it down because motorists caught on it was not real.

Mike Lacey, 73, built the £40 dummy device in a bid to slow down drivers on the A1 dual carriageway outside his home in Beeston, Bedfordshire.

However, drivers began "beeping their horns" at the improvised camera in a snub to his efforts, he said.

"Its exposure as a fake was its undoing," he said.

Mr Lacey said the removal of covers from a real camera nearby was "having the desired effect for the time being" in reducing speeds in the area.

Highways England has been asked for comment.

It previously acknowledged Mr Lacey's "commitment to safety and his ingenuity" but made a complaint to Central Bedfordshire Council.

Image caption Mike Lacey bought the parts for the camera for £40
Image caption Mr Lacey said the covers have been removed from a real camera nearby and it was "having the desired effect"

Mr Lacey, a retired petrochemical engineer, said he was prompted to install the dummy camera on the side of his Grade II listed home 18 months ago because drivers were reaching 90mph (144km/h) on the road, which has a 50mph (80km/h) limit.

The village of Beeston, between Biggleswade and Sandy, is effectively split in two by the A1.

Mr Lacey said there had been fatalities along the stretch of road in the past, and two major speed-related crashes in the past three months alone.

"This is a very neglected section of road. My fake average speed camera worked until it got exposed," he said.

Mr Lacey built the device using guttering and drainpipe bought at a DIY store.

However, he told the BBC in October 2018 that a Central Bedfordshire Council officer asked him to remove the fake camera following a complaint from Highways England, which said it distracted drivers.

He refused, claiming: "The camera I've put up works. You can actually see brake lights coming on."

Image caption The camera was made with guttering and drainpipe

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