A SPEED camera was set alight less than 200 metres from a fire station in the latest in spate of attacks in south Essex.

The camera had a car tyre, doused in petrol, put round it and was set on fire in Long Road, Canvey.

Firefighters from the nearby fire station managed to put out the burning tyre, which had been cut to fit round the speed camera.

Only a week ago a speed camera was set alight along the A127, near Progress Road, in Southend.

Sub Officer Kevin Kercock, of Canvey Fire Station, said: “There was a lot of smoke and the speed camera is now very discoloured. It is definitely broken.

“I haven’t seen this sort of thing before, but I know there has been a spate of speed cameras being vandalised in the area.”

Eight speed cameras have been destroyed since May last year in south Essex.

Councillor Norman Hume, cabinet member responsible for highways and transportation, said: “Safety cameras are a valuable tool in preventing accidents and reducing casualties.

“We treat vandalism against them extremely seriously and we have reported this matter to the police.”

Police spokesman Nishan Wijeratne said the camera was destroyed and installing a new one would cost as much as £40,000.

He said: “Such incidents of mindless vandalism will not be tolerated. Cameras are there to increase safety and damage to them could result in speed-related accidents.”