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Roading and Transport

Mystery of the CCTV camera

A camera that mysteriously appeared high up on a streetlight on SH25 at the intersection with Racecourse Road is to be removed by the NZ Transport Agency following enquiries by The Informer.
 |  Tony Stickley  | 
Aamera that mysteriously appeared on SH25
Anna Corbett is a close neighbour of the boyracer antics. Her home is very near the camera in the background.

For many years the junction has been notorious for boy racers doing donuts and burn-outs late at night, traumatising the neighbourhood with loud engine revving and the smell of burning rubber and smoke.

It is just a miracle that no-one was killed.”

Over the past four or five weeks the Informer has sent a number of emails to various organisations with photographs asking if they had installed the camera and why, but all have said it was nothing to do with them.

Ironically, since the camera was surreptitiously installed just before Christmas, the incidence of anti-social vehicular behaviour has reduced dramatically.

Late last week (January 25) NZTA said in a statement: “We can confirm that this is not a NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi (NZTA) camera and that we are arranging for it to be removed by our contractors.”

Others to deny any knowledge of the camera were Thames-Coromandel District Council, the Police and Powerco.

There have been suggestions that it may have been a disgruntled local who decided to install the rogue camera to deter boy racers.

News that the camera is now to be taken down has disappointed at least one nearby resident, Anna Corbett who lives in Carina Way.

“It has been terrible,” said Anna. “Often, I was woken up several times a night with the noise of the engines revving and then the thick black smoke that came right into my bedroom.

“There were a number of near misses as other cars came along, not knowing what was going on and they could not really see anything because of the smoke.

“One several occasions the hoons ended up in the ditch and had to get towed out.

“It is just a miracle that no-one was killed.”

Anna said that since the camera went up before Christmas, life had become a lot more peaceful.

“I am certain the camera wasn’t there before. It has been a lot quieter, thanks to the camera, whoever put it in.

“In recent weeks I have only recorded two nights when boy racers came out to burn rubber.”

She said that since the camera was mounted, cars would pull up and park in Racecourse Road near the intersection, stay for a few minutes and drive away again.

“I do not know whether they are boy racers or not, but they certainly seem to look at the camera. I think a lot of them might have been scared off and decided not to take the risk of doing their burn-outs.

“It’s disappointing that the camera is coming down. I certainly hope the noise of people hooning around doesn’t get bad again.

“If it does, I will be calling the police straight away,” Anna said.

The only question remaining is who put the camera there in the first place?

Police said they don’t install cameras.

“We work with local Councils to access footage from CCTV cameras owned and operated by Councils,” a spokesperson said.

Laurna White, TCDC Community Outcomes Group Manager, said they were are not aware of the alleged issue with antisocial driving behaviour at the junction of SH25 and Racecourse Rd, an area maintained by NZTA.

“Council is not aware of the presence of a camera at this location. This will need to be investigated with the Police and Waka Kotahi and if found to have been erected without consent, it will be removed,” she said.

Powerco said: “Goodness, that sounds quite a mystery! It’s unlikely to be us as council owns the streetlights, while we manage the cabling going into the streetlight, as well as power poles, lines and power transformers, etc.”

While covering this story another significant issue was revealed to The Informer – the state of the unattended verge which is impacting the residents along that stretch of highway. More next week after talking with TCDC and Waka Kotahi.