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Vigilantes Attack Cameras in UK, Italy

March 1, 2009

Vigilantes Attack Cameras in UK, Italy
Spray paint disables a French speed camera while a burning tire destroys a UK camera.

Attacked camera, La Depeche photoVigilantes this week set fire to a speed camera in North East England and covered an Italian photo radar device in red paint. Around 7:30pm a gasoline-soaked tire was placed on the automated ticketing machine located on the A177 in the village of Thorpe Thewles, according to the Northern Echo newspaper. Cleveland Police have no suspects in the incident.

On Wednesday a vigilante spray-painted the three glass windows of a speed camera on the 2088 in Carmaux-Alibi, France. The red paint kept the device from issuing tickets until repairs could be made, according to La Depeche. Spray paint attacks on the camera in the region are common as residents express their displeasure with the “Sarko boxes.” The name refers to then-Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy who championed their use, despite himself being caught ignoring traffic laws in his personal motorcade. In May 2007, Vigilantes wrote SARKO BOX in large white letters on the pavement of the 840 to mark the presence of a speed camera that was also covered in white paint. In December, a Toulouse camera was painted in red with the initials “NTM”. After being installed in 2005, more there were than thirty incidents of cameras being shot, painted or otherwise attacked in one year.

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