Driver who blocked view of 'unfairly' parked speed camera in Northamptonshire is fined
A 'vigilante' motorist who parked in front of a mobile speed camera in Northamptonshire because he believed it was entrapping drivers ended up with a £100 fine for his troubles.
Former BBC and Sky radio journalist Geoff Wilding had just turned off the A43 into Stamford Road, Weldon, when he spotted the police camera trap on April 1.
But feeling the van was parked in a way that would catch motorists slowing down from the dual carriageway - the 73-year-old decided to challenge its positioning.
Grandad-of-three Mr Wilding parked up behind the van and then spoke to the camera operator inside
Mr Wilding said: "The distance that camera travels extends to bend after you come off the bypass. You could easily come around that bend quite innocently doing a few miles over.
"I said 'I think you are here to earn money, not to deter speeding'."
But what the former broadcaster did next earned him a £100 fine.
Mr Wilding moved his Volvo into the line of sight of the speed camera, which was being operated by a civilian as part of the Northamptonshire Road Safety Partnership.
He then covered his numberplate with a duster and lifted the tailgate to restrict its view, remaining there for the next 30 minutes.
"I just thought if I prevent even just one person getting a fine unfairly, I've done my job," he said.
But five days later, Mr Wilding received a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) in the post - for obscuring his numberplate.
"It seems the operator was somewhat miffed that I questioned not only his positioning but also his authority," he said.
"No doubt he was upset that he had failed to obtain a picture of a speeding offence so used his creative camera skills and valuable time in taking snapshots of me and my vehicle.”
But Northamptonshire Police says it enforces the main road through Weldon because there have been a number of complaints about speeding in that location.
Safer roads operations manager at the force, Matt O'Connell, said: “This enforcement location is one of the many we have across the county. It originally came to our attention following numerous complaints about vehicle speeds and poor driving behaviour at the location.
“Speed data collected before enforcement activity began at this location showed that 33 per cent of vehicles were travelling above the enforcement threshold. This is simply not acceptable and shows a complete disregard for the local community.
“Mobile enforcement vehicles detect a wide range of moving traffic offences, not just speeding, and operate across Northamptonshire in order to make our roads safer for everyone. Enforcement locations can be viewed at www.northantspas.com.”
But Mr Wilding, from Birmingham, is considering challenging the FPN.
"Perhaps I could go to the magistrates' court and let them decide whether I was right or wrong," he said, before joking: "Maybe I will use public transport to get there though."