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Flintshire County Council trialling lollipop spy cams outside schools

SPY cameras are being hidden in traffic lollipops to catch out dodgy drivers outside schools.

The controversial ‘lollicams’ are being fitted to the iconic sticks used by crossing wardens in a bid to catch out dangerous and careless motorists.

Road safety chiefs say the devices will help to catch and prosecute anyone who breaks the law by failing to stop at a crossing, by providing evidence on film.

The scheme is being trialled for the first time in Wales in Flintshire, where the council says the aim is to make children’s journeys to school safer.

But the Automobile Association said it was ‘sad and disappointing’ that Flintshire felt the need to introduce the cameras.

AA president Edmund King raised fears the cameras could lead to road rage, saying ‘aggressive drivers’ gripped by anger could threaten lollipop staff who do a ‘valuable’ job.

But he admitted they may help catch rogue drivers.

He said: “It’s pretty sad and disappointing in this day and age that it’s even considered necessary that a lollipop person helping children cross the road should need to offer extra protection.

“It’s a sad reflection on a minority of drivers who disregard the law.”

He said he was unsure how clear any footage would be, and said its validity as court evidence was ‘debatable’.

Campaigners at the Big Brother Watch pressure group have hit out at the trial.

Director Alex Deane said: “This is an outrageous idea. Britain is the most watched nation in the world and now they want to start putting CCTV cameras on our friendly neighbourhood lollipop ladies? You have to wonder what’s next for the surveillance state.”

But Flintshire County Council insisted the video information gathered may be used as evidence in court should a motorist be involved in an incident.

All school crossing patrols will be trained in how to use the kit.

The cameras are activated when the pole touches the ground and are pointed at the offending car to record the number plate.

The spy cams will be used for a week-long trial in one Flintshire area, then be passed to another site within the county.

It comes after a number of incidents in which motorists have assaulted crossing patrol staff or ignored their demands to stop.

Cllr Tony Sharps, executive member for the environment said: “The introduction of a camera pole at school crossing patrol sites will help ensure the safety of both vulnerable children and adult pedestrians on their way to and from school, as well as giving patrols extra protection against potential motorists failing to stop.

“A number of incidents go unreported for a number of reasons. It is extremely difficult for patrols to recall the registration number of an offending vehicle, as their main priority is to ensure the safety of the pedestrians crossing the road in question.”

A similar scheme has already been used successfully by councils in London and Yorkshire.

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