Aug 28, 2023
Group’s director claims motorists are ‘circumnavigating’ charge as 288 crimes relating to zone cameras are recorded An anti-Ulez vigilante has described vandalising cameras across London as “unpaid
Group’s director claims motorists are ‘circumnavigating’ charge as 288 crimes relating to zone cameras are recorded
An anti-Ulez vigilante has described vandalising cameras across London as “unpaid voluntary work” as he called on motorists to fight the £12.50 daily charge.
The campaign director of Blade Runners, a secretive group whose balaclava-clad members have claimed responsibility for a spate of attacks on Ulez cameras and signs, told TalkTV that drivers had come under “constant attack”.
The group, which carries out its attacks at night, has previously told the Daily Mail that its aim was to take down every Ulez camera in London. The body also claimed that the police and TfL had understated how many cameras had been vandalised.
The director, calling himself “Captain Gatso”, defended the group’s actions, which are being investigated by police as criminal damage. As of Tuesday, Scotland Yard said it had recorded 288 crimes relating to Ulez cameras.
Asked by TalkTV presenter Julia Hartley-Brewer how the group justified the illegal destruction of cameras, Gatso said: “It’s unpaid voluntary work for the community, Julia, let’s be under no illusions.
“When you are under constant attack from this Government and all the other governments previously, you have to take defensive offensive action. They’re not standing up for us.”
Encouraging motorists to oppose Ulez following its London expansion, Gatso said some had shown “imagination” by attempting to “circumnavigate” the charge.
He claimed drivers had registered their cars to addresses separate from their homes and “stripped” their number plates, a process where letters or numbers are altered using electrical installation tape.
“The only person feeling the long arm of the law is the motorist. It’s high time we fought back. Let’s do stuff to mitigate the attacks on our purses and wallets,” he added.
The £12.50 daily charge for older polluting vehicles widened to all 32 London boroughs on Tuesday following months of controversy, having previously ended at the North and South Circular roads.
The backlash against the expansion stepped up a gear this week, with pictures on Tuesday showing Ulez camera cables severed, lenses covered in red paint, electronics sprayed with foam and one device blocked by a cardboard box.
In Orpington, in the borough of Bromley, 14 cameras within a half-mile stretch on the A224 between Court Road and Cray Avenue had been smashed, spray painted red or had their wires cut.
In a statement on Wednesday, a Met Police spokesman said: “The Met has and 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.
“To date Met investigations have led to the arrest of two individuals, one charged and bailed for trial to June 2024 and the other discontinued by the CPS.
“We continue to monitor Anti-Ulez protests, as we do for all potential public order matters, to consider if bespoke policing plans are required. Some events have seen between 200 and 300 people attending.”