The drivers caught in the frame
By Lucie McFall

MOTORISTS have forked out more than 120,000 in fines after being snapped by roadside cameras in Bolton.

Over the last 12 months, from April 2005 to April 2006, a total of 952 drivers were caught breaking the speed limit or crossing a red light by cameras across the borough generating a total of 121,560 in fines.

The figures were obtained following a request by the Bolton Evening News under the Freedom of Information Act.

A spokesman for Drivesafe, the Greater Manchester Casualty Reduction Partnership, said the figures showed that there were still too many motorists driving above the speed limit.

He said: "Safety cameras have proved to be a very effective tool in making our roads safer. However, the figures shown here still highlight that far too many motorists are choosing to ignore the speed limits. Only if everyone sticks to, or drives under the limit, are we going to have the best chance of keeping our roads as safe as possible."

There are 16 fixed speed camera sites in Bolton, of which only a certain percentage operate at any one time. The borough also has five cameras sited to catch drivers crossing red lights illegally.

The money raised through fines from camera sites in Bolton will now be ploughed back into improving road safety in the borough.

Almost four times the number of motorists were caught in Bury than in Bolton, the figures show.

There are only three speed cameras in Bury, but eight red light cameras.

A total of 4,151 drivers were snapped during the same period. But the amount payed out in fines was much lower, at 56,480.

That is because more people in Bury settled their bills by way of a fixed penalty notice of 60, rather than contesting the offence and being summonsed to court. Cases that are lost lead to fines being increased.

Mobile cameras are also deployed in at certain locations in both towns.

The figures have not come as a shock to road safety bosses. Insp Chris Burrows from the road policing unit for Bolton, Leigh and Wigan, said: "I am surprised the figure isn't even higher. It shows that people are still willing to put their safety and the safety of others at risk.

"Not only could they kill or seriously injure someone but it could affect their own livelihood, they risk more points on their licence and eventually they could lose their licence. The cameras and the enforcement are in areas where we know that either safety is an issue or motorists are regularly flouting the law."