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Vandals put ‘spy’ stickers over Ulez cameras ahead of expansion

Ulez camera in Beckenham with the wires cut (Elliot Wagland)
Ulez camera in Beckenham with the wires cut (Elliot Wagland)

Stickers have been placed over ultra-low emission zone (Ulez) cameras and onto poles with the words “spy camera” in the latest act of vandalism days before the scheme expands to Greater London.

The cameras have been targeted by anti-Ulez campaigners in a flurry of vandalism and thefts in the weeks leading up to the clean air zone expansion to the Greater London boundary on August 29.

In the latest show of discontent, photos show stickers that express opposition to Mayor Sadiq Khan have been placed over the lens of some Ulez cameras that have been installed by Transport for London (TfL).

Underneath the camera, on the camera pole, red stickers with large white writing say “Ulez spy camera” with an arrow pointing up towards the camera.

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Other posters have been left on car windshields warning drivers of the charges being imposed on non-compliant vehicles.

Last week a man was caught on video chopping two Ulez cameras using a tree lopper in dramatic footage.

The shadowy figure ignores the crowd filming him and walks on before repeating the procedure on another Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) camera.

Nearly 300 crimes relating to London’s Ulez cameras were recorded as of August 1, Metropolian police said last week.

They included around 185 reports of cables being damaged, 164 cameras being stolen and 38 reports of cameras being obscured, the Met said in its update.

Commander Owain Richards said at the time: “These are clearly unacceptable acts of criminality and we have a team of officers investigating and identifying those responsible.”

Some 2,750 new cameras are being installed as part of the scheme’s expansion.

The current estimated total cost to supply and install the ANPR cameras and associated supporting infrastructure for London wide ULEZ is in the range of £45-50m.

Images emerged last week of Ulez cameras and their wires being given extra protection, including through the use of black metal boxes.

Scotland Yard released an image of a man they want to trace in connection with four camera offences in Hillingdon, Harrow and Uxbridge on June 17.

Any witnesses or anyone with any information about the man in the image is asked to call police on 101 or contact via Twitter @MetCC. Please quote CAD3968/14AUG. To remain anonymous contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online at crimestoppers-uk.org.

Image released by the Met of man they wish to speak to (Metropolitan Police)
Image released by the Met of man they wish to speak to (Metropolitan Police)

Vehicles that do not meet minimum emissions standards are required to pay a £12.50 daily fee when used in the Ulez zone, or face a fine.

TfL says nine out of 10 cars seen driving in outer London on an average day comply with the Ulez standards.

Figures obtained by the RAC show more than 690,000 licensed cars in the whole of London are likely to be non-compliant.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has previously described his decision to expand the Ulez area as “very difficult” but insisted it would “see five million more Londoners being able to breathe cleaner air”.

TfL has been approached for comment.