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Speed Guns Handed To Villagers

Speed guns are to be issued to residents of Whittlebury and Helmdon to help trap motorists who speed through the villages.

The scheme, the first of its kind in the county, is part of the Community Speed Watch project set up by the Safety Camera Partnership in association with Northamptonshire Police, South Northants Council and Action with Communities in Rural England.

Ten volunteers will form a team in each village. They will then be trained to operate a laser gun, working in teams of two over a three-month trial period.

Geoffrey Holbrooke, chairman of Whittlebury Parish Council, said "Some villages are particularly prone to speeding due to the type of route through. In Whittlebury, the road is long and straight so people do not always slow down. We have a school in the village and it is dangerous for the children. I have a lot of faith that this will work and make the village safer for everyone."

On the first and second offence the driver will receive a letter from the police and the third offence is expected to lead to a prosecution.

Sgt Darren Elliott, who heads the enforcement team at the Safety Camera Partnership, said the concept of the scheme was to increase community involvement and to help each area tackle their own major problem.

Before the villages are issued with the gun they must gather 120 signatures from residents, pledging they will adhere to the limit through every village in the county. Sgt Elliott added: "In return, we will supply them with the support and tools necessary to encourage slower and safer driving."

If the trial is successful in reducing the speed of through-traffic, similar schemes will be set up in other villages.

The Banbury Cake - 20th June 2003

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