DRIVERS have been wrongly slapped with £100 fines – after cops admitted Britain’s busiest speed camera is faulty.
Campaigners say thousands of motorists may have been ordered to pay out – despite doing nothing wrong – after the Gatso in Southampton, Hampshire glitched.
It triggered an astonishing 70 times a day over that period.
Its minimum fine begins at £100 – and it’s thought millions of pounds have been paid out by snared drivers.
But Hampshire police has now revealed it has been recording incorrect readings of vehicles with a ‘high flat rear’ – meaning motors where the licence plate is placed higher.
Campervans and lorries may be among the vehicles affected.
And a drivers’ organisation today called on authorities to refund every driver fined as a result of being recorded by the camera.
Two drivers have already been able to prove they were incorrectly penalised.
One, NHS IT engineer Nathan Thompson, told the Daily Echo he could have lost his job over the matter.
He was flashed as he drove his motorhome well under the limit at 25mph in August.
It was only thanks to dashcam footage that he was able to clear his name.
After receiving a letter which said he could be prosecuted for travelling at twice his actual speed – in excess of 50mph – Nathan, 37, appealed the ticket.
He said: “If I was in a hire car or a work car and from outside the area and I didn’t have proof of going 25mph I’d have had to pay it.
“I wonder how many other people have been in a similar situation with that camera, as it’s the most profitable in the country.
“If I didn’t have the evidence that I was going 25mph, then it would have ended up with me going to court.
‘COULD HAVE LOST MY JOB’
“I’d have lost my job. That technology shouldn’t go wrong. It has the potential to seriously ruin lives.”
Another driver wrongly caught at 52mph was initially told the shape of his motorhome had triggered the camera.
He was then told in a further email there had been a problem with the number plate.
Delivery driver Harley Golder said he was recorded as driving at 49mph, which could have landed him with six points.
He was actually driving at 24mph.
And Marc Miller wrote on Facebook: “I was driving a three wheel van and the camera said 70mph – you couldn’t get it to do 70mph if you pushed it off a cliff.”
The rear-facing camera, which records motorists’ speed after they passed it, remains in place on the dual carriageway.
There is a similar camera on the other side recording motorists travelling in the opposite direction as well.
The Alliance of British Drivers today said every driver snapped by the camera and consequently fined should now be refunded.
Hugh Bladon, one of the founding members of the organisation, said: “We are aware that sometimes cameras are not exactly accurate.
“But for this camera to be recording a driver as travelling at 50mph, something is seriously wrong.
“Every driver, regardless of what speed he has been shown doing by this camera, should have their fine refunded and any points removed.
“If people, as a result of this camera, have to do a speed awareness course, that should be refunded as well as together with compensation for the time that the person has had to spend completing it.”
A Hampshire Constabulary spokesperson said: “We are aware of an issue with the camera on Maybray King Way, which can lead to incorrect readings with vehicles with a high flat rear.
“Our Summary Justice Unit has thorough processes in place to ensure that we prevent any incorrect prosecutions occurring.
“There have been two cases in which we have identified this issue and have stopped proceedings.”
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