Police fear serious accidents could increase on a Hampshire road after a speed camera worth £40,000 was stolen.
A disc cutter appears to have been used to remove the camera from the A36 through West Wellow, near Romsey.
The static Truvelo safety camera had been on the southbound carriageway near its junction with Whinwhistle Road.
Concerns the criminal damage could increase serious collisions and injuries have been raised by Hampshire Police's road safety team.
Figures show that in the three years before the camera was installed in December 2003, there were five fatal or serious accidents and a further 22 collisions involving minor injuries.
Hampshire Police said the camera's presence had helped reduce injuries by almost 60%.
Truvelo safety cameras take photographs of passing vehicles and pictures can also identify drivers.
Prosecutions can result in a minimum of three penalty points and a £60 fine.
'Destroy the evidence'
Simon Gomer, from Hampshire Police's Safer Roads Unit, said the theft could result in a much stiffer punishment.
"One possible motive is an image may have been captured and the driver photographed wants to destroy the evidence either due to a speeding offence or a more serious crime," he said.
"The equipment stolen has no resale value and will probably be disposed of by the criminals concerned.
"The irony here is the person caught speeding would probably get a £60 fine and three points on their licence or a speed awareness course.
"A theft and criminal damage of this nature would carry much greater consequences."
- 6 March 2012
- 19 April 2011