Speeding fines in England and Wales hit four-year high

A car passes a speed camera on Sir Harry Lauder Road in Edinburgh Image copyright PA

The number of people fined by the courts for speeding offences in England and Wales has risen to its highest level since 2009.

More than 115,000 people were fined by magistrates last year, figures from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) show.

AA president Edmund King said the rise reflected the fact that digital speed cameras were working 24 hours a day.

The Department for Transport said it was magistrates who decided when to impose fines.

The MoJ figures show 115,549 motorists were issued with fines of at least £100 in 2013.

South Wales saw one of the biggest increases, with the number of drivers fined tripling last year to 6,491, from 2,181 three years earlier.

One speed camera in Cardiff generated more than an estimated £800,000 of fines in six months.

The number of offenders fined grew over the same period by almost 1,000 in both South Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, and by close to 2,000 in Staffordshire.

London saw the most people fined last year, although the figure for the Metropolitan Police area fell to 7,736 - its lowest level in five years.

'Pot luck'

AA president Mr King told the Daily Telegraph that the increase "is a reflection that cameras are more efficient than ever".

"In the past, cameras in London would only take valid pictures for a quarter of a day and it was pot luck whether you are fined. The cameras are now working 24 hours a day."

A spokeswoman for the Department for Transport said: "Speeding can have devastating consequences and it's right that drivers should abide by the speed limit.

"These fines were issued at the discretion of the magistrates and show the number of fines issued is in decline across many police force areas."

Earlier this year it was announced the maximum fines imposed by magistrates for motorway speeding would rise from £2,500 to £10,000.

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