Newcastle MP Paul Farrelly has joined safety-conscious residents in a campaign to stop dangerous drivers speeding through their village.
Mr Farrelly joined forces with residents in his home village of Alsagers Bank to become a Community Speedwatch volunteer and later this month he will help to launch the scheme officially.
Once the scheme goes ‘live’ , the volunteers will use special laser ‘guns to track the speed, registration number and make of vehicles caught travelling too fast through the village.
Motorists who are spotted breaking the 30mph limit will be issued with an initial warning letter by the police asking them to curtail their speed. If the same vehicle is caught on a second occasion the driver will be sent a final ‘follow-up’ letter.
The speedwatch scheme was organised following calls by Mr Farrelly for action to slow down drivers who speed through Alsagers Bank on their way to the neighbouring villages of Scot Hay, Miles Green, Halmer End, Bignall End and Audley.
Its official launch, later this month, follows a recent crash in which a speeding car overturned in the village injuring one of the occupants.
“The scheme sends out a clear signal that local people will no longer tolerate reckless drivers whose irresponsible behaviour puts lives at risk. I’m delighted that so many residents have shown a willingness to become volunteers and to take direct action to combat the problem,” Mr Farrelly said.
“In recent years there have been several serious accidents locally and villagers are fearful and angry and, quite rightly, wanted to see something done about it. By becoming volunteers they have shown they are ready to take practical action to tackle the problem.
“By challenging the behaviour of these drivers we hope to change their attitude and to re-educate them about the need to slow down and take more care,” Mr Farrelly added.
His comments were echoed by Mrs Jannette Bissell, the village’s local Speedwatch co-ordinator who said: “With Paul’s encouragement and the support of the police, we agreed to undergo the training and become volunteers. We want to do our bit to make the village a safer place.
“When the scheme is properly established we will be pressing the county council to erect permanent signs at the entrance to the village, warning motorists they are entering an official speed watch zone,” she added.
In addition to undertaking the training, Mr Farrelly also held public meetings in the village to recruit volunteers and helped the police to identify suitable ‘hot spots’ where the speed detection equipment will be sited.
Community Speedwatch is run jointly by Staffordshire Police, in partnership with Staffordshire County and Stoke-on-Trent City councils. The partnership co-ordinated the Alsagers Bank scheme and paid for the speed guns and other equipment. There are 47 Speedwatch schemes operating in Staffordshire, involving a total of 370 volunteers.
Paul with local volunteers Gaynor Rutherford and Lionel Turner at the launch of the scheme.