Fight against speed goes to the dogs

It has often been said that it is hard to fight a war on two fronts. That certainly seems to be the case in one Norfolk village where householders have resolved to rid their community of dog mess rather than clamp down on speeding cars racing along their roads.

It has often been said that it is hard to fight a war on two fronts.

That certainly seems to be the case in one Norfolk village where householders have resolved to rid their community of dog mess rather than clamp down on speeding cars racing along their roads.

The villagers of Belton, near Yarmouth, have decided to concentrate their volunteer spirit on ridding pavements and verges of pet waste - becoming one of the first villages in the county to reject a scheme to record the number of fast- moving motorists.

Householders were concerned that if they took part in the Norfolk Comm-unity Speedwatch scheme, volunteers might be attacked in a road-rage incident and preferred to leave monitoring motorists to the police.

So as Belton prepares to introduce volunteer environmental rangers to monitor and report on dog mess, fly tipping and overgrown bushes as part of a Yarmouth Borough Council-backed initiative, the police may have to divert resources to tackle any speeding in the village.

There are now five east Norfolk communities signed up to Speedwatch, which sees villagers using speed cameras to record when motorists travel too fast so police can decide the best times to patrol problem areas and target repeat offenders.

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Malcolm Scott, chairman of the parish council, said: "Councillors had a number of concerns, not least that the public was paying increasing sums to the police and then being asked to run the services themselves."

Members were also worried that volunteers could be subject to road- rage assaults if angry motorists got upset by having their speed recorded.

But Mr Scott said that by setting up the volunteer environmental rangers, residents were proving they were committed to improving the quality of life in their community.

He said: "It is nice to think that people are prepared to give up their free time to walk around the village to help make it a better place to live."

Sgt Andy Hood, who has run Speedwatch since it was launched at Hopton in July, said as far as he was aware there were no reports of road- rage incidents in other similar schemes across the country.

He said: "At the end of the day we only have limited resources and Speedwatch helps provide us with valuable intelligence we can act quickly upon."

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