ULEZ: Drop in TfL camera vandalism since peak, as total cases at almost 1,000

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The ULEZ was expanded by Sadiq Khan on August 29, meaning most drivers of non-compliant vehicles in the city would become liable to pay the £12.50 daily charge.

Almost 1,000 crimes relating to the damage or stealing of Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) cameras have been recorded by the Met Police since April 1.

The latest data from the force also indicates that just under 200 were recorded between September 1 and October 31, representing a major drop in cases compared to the figures reported for August, prior to the zone’s expansion.

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The ULEZ was extended by mayor Sadiq Khan on August 29 from inner and central London to the whole of the capital, meaning most drivers of non-compliant vehicles in the city would become liable to pay the £12.50 daily charge.

So-called 'blade runners' have taken to damaging ULEZ cameras across London in protest over the zone's expansion. Credit: Leon Neal/Getty Images.So-called 'blade runners' have taken to damaging ULEZ cameras across London in protest over the zone's expansion. Credit: Leon Neal/Getty Images.
So-called 'blade runners' have taken to damaging ULEZ cameras across London in protest over the zone's expansion. Credit: Leon Neal/Getty Images. | Getty Images

The Met launched an operation in April after Transport for London (TfL) passed on reports of criminal damage and theft to the police. Photos and videos of so-called ‘blade runners’ were regularly posted online in the lead-up to the expansion showing cameras being cut down and damaged.

The latest figures highlight how crimes have continued to be recorded up to October 31, with a total of 987 over the entire period from April 1, up 193 instances since the September 1 data.

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This includes 220 reports of cameras being stolen, and 767 being damaged.

A Met Police spokesperson said: "The Met continues to treat criminal activity in relation to ULEZ seriously and has deployed considerable resources to our operation.

"Where there are possible lines of enquiry, local investigators will follow up using a range of investigative approaches including CCTV trawls, witness searches and an assessment of forensic opportunities."

So far, there have been five arrests and two charges in relation to damage to ULEZ cameras.

These are:

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  • Joseph Nicolls, 42, of Foots Cray High Street in Sidcup, charged with criminal damage, malicious communications and handling stolen goods, as well as aiding or abetting the destruction of, or damage to, property valued over £5,000. He has been bailed ahead of a trial at Woolwich Crown Court on June 10, 2024.

  • A 44-year-old man was charged in May with criminal damage but had their case discontinued by the CPS on Friday, June 9.

  • A 52-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and has been bailed until Tuesday, December 19 pending further enquiries.

  • A 45-year-old man was arrested on Wednesday, October 4 on suspicion of conspiring to commit criminal damage to ULEZ cameras and encouraging or assisting offences to be committed. He has since been bailed to return on a date in mid-December.

  • Stephen Nunn, 39, of West Wickham, Bromley, was charged on Saturday, October 28 with criminal damage. He has been released on bail and is due to appear at Bromley Magistrates' Court on Monday, November 13.

City Hall recently released its one-month report on the ULEZ expansion, in which it found the extended zone had removed 45% of the most-polluting vehicles from London’s roads on an average day in September, compared to June.

TfL is estimated to have raked in more than £23 million in charges during the first month of the ULEZ expansion. Mr Khan and TfL claim the zone is not expected to make any money after several years, though opponents to the scheme, including Conservative assembly member and mayoral candidate Susan Hall, have described it as a “tax grab”.