Published: 11/05/2006 12:00 AM (UAE)
Cars face problems as they pass radar dome

Evening Standard

London: Dozens of cars were suffering unexplained electrical problems as they passed a Royal Air Force radar dome.

Engines would cut out, headlights die, alarms blare and dashboards go haywire.

RAF chiefs insisted it was just a coincidence that the chaos took place right next to their surveillance post at Trimingham near Cromer on the county's north coast.

But following an inquiry they have admitted the radar vane spinning inside the golf ball-shaped dome was indeed "out of alignment".

The Ministry of Defence is now fielding compensation claims from affected motorists including mother-of-two, Kerrie Maydew.

Her Nissan Almera had repeatedly failed when she passed the radar station on her school run. On one occasion the car's fuse box needed to be completely replaced and she was left with a £300 (Dh2,100) repair bill.

As many as 30 drivers suffered similar problems in a three-month spell starting last November.

In most cases the cars were restored to full working order by temporarily disconnecting the battery.

Trimingham Radar Station was established in 1941 to detect German patrol boats and low-flying aircraft. It remains a key part of the national air defence system.

It said the site had suffered from "unserviceable phase shifters" and a "drop in wave guide air pressure".

This means it was sending out signals at the wrong frequency and too close to the ground, according to defence expert Jonathan Levy.