Freeway speed camera shooting

The Princes Freeway speed cameras on the Point Wilson Road overpass were shot at, causing an estimated $40,000 damage.

Thursday, May 11

A GUN-wielding vandal has rendered Princes Freeway speed cameras at the Point Wilson Road overpass temporarily out of action after shooting them.

A Department of Justice spokesman said repair crews worked on the damaged equipment over the freeway yesterday and warned the cameras would be working within days.

And he confirmed taxpayers would foot the bill.

``It appears the cameras sustained damage from a firearm and police are investigating,'' the spokesman said.

``The cost of repair is not known at this stage but it is expected to be in the tens of thousands of dollars.

``. . .Whoever did this is an irresponsible idiot putting the lives of others in danger. Cameras are on the road to save lives.''

Technicians yesterday worked to repair the housing of the speed cameras and their infrared flashes. The spokesman expected repair work to continue today.

Detective Sergeant Gary Arnold of Corio CIU said he believed the attack happened between Sunday and Monday.

``The inbound and outbound cameras were damaged,'' Det-Sgt Arnold said.

He urged anyone who witnessed the attack, or had information about it, to call Corio CIU on 5273 9575.

Authorities switched on eight infrared cameras on the Princes Freeway from January 30. The cameras, at locations including Lara's Avalon Road overpass, the Point Wilson Road overpass and Hoppers Crossing's Forsyth Road overpass, nabbed almost 3000 speeding motorists in their first two days of operation.

The spokesman said the vandal attack was the second case where someone had damaged speed cameras with a firearm.

Speed cameras installed on the West Gate Freeway sustained damage after someone shot them with a high-powered firearm in early December. The attack scattered debris on the freeway and left an estimated damage bill of $40,000.

Police at the time suspected the offender could have been a disgruntled motorist.

In Geelong, a motorist selected a golf club as his weapon of choice, whacking a mobile speed camera in Shannon Avenue on April 13 this year.