Fake speed limit sign penalities 'outrageous'

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New metric road signs - Dublin
Cathal McNaughton/PA Archive

The decision to prosecute drivers who were fooled by a set of fake speed limit signs, has been branded "outrageous" by the Alliance of British Drivers (ABD).

A number of motorists were fined for speeding after pranksters placed 40mph limit signs in a 30mph stretch of the A630 near Rotherham.

They were erected in the last week of September, and have since been removed by council officials.

"Nobody knows where [the signs] came from," a police spokeswoman told The Telegraph.

"The initial indication we have had is [that] somebody has clearly done it as a joke".

The authorities only became aware of the fake signs after a driver contacted the Rotherham Advertiser after receiving a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) for speeding.

Motorist Dave Russell said: "The speed camera van has literally been parked across the road from a 40mph sign dishing out speeding fines for people driving over 30mph, it's ridiculous.

"What exactly is the speed limit on there and should people really be fined if they've just been properly paying attention to the signs and doing 40mph?"

Despite both the police and council admitting that drivers had been caught out by a prank, and that neither knew where the signs have originated from, the affected drivers have not had their penalties overturned, sparking outrage from motorists' groups.

ABD director Brian Macdowall comments, "It is outrageous that drivers should be penalised for speeding when they were obeying what they thought was the speed limit. There is a legal requirement on highway authorities to ensure that the correct signs are displayed to advise drivers of the speed limit in force on a road. The police should also check that a speed limit is correctly signed before starting any enforcement activity. They clearly failed to do so in this case.

"If these penalties are not revoked it means that even the most law-abiding drivers are at risk if speed limit signs cannot be trusted. All drivers caught while the false signs were displayed must be exonerated."