Signs of Protest

Image from PIXLIN at Pixabay

I had heard about people vandalising the new 20mph speed limit signs, but hadn’t come across any instances until a week ago when I had occasion to wander into Carmarthen.

Enjoying a delightful journey on the country roads where the autumn leaves were giving a truly astonishing display of gold and reds, I found very few villages where the new road signs were not painted out.

I don’t drive as much as I used to but I really notice how challenging it is to keep to 20, especially going uphill. And on this particular Saturday, most other drivers didn’t seem particularly concerned to obey the new rules, sometimes driving very close and once actually risking an overtaking in some impatience.

The vandalised signs had been worked over with varying degrees of enthusiasm, with some decorated with a light black spray with the 20 still visible and others more thoroughly defaced.

Apparently it’s been happening all over Wales and I found myself wondering what happens to the vandals if they’re caught.

Apparently destroying or removing a traffic/speed sign could lead to a £1,000 fine, according to the UK Highways Act (1980).

The  Act states: “If a person without lawful authority or excuse pulls down or obliterates a traffic sign placed on or over a highway, or a milestone or direction post (not being a traffic sign) so placed, he is guilty of an offence; but it is a defence in any proceedings under this subsection to show that the traffic sign, milestone or post was not lawfully so placed. A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable to a fine not exceeding Level 3 on the standard scale (£1,000).”

And it doesn’t end there. For vandalism of this kind, it may not be just a fine. It could also lead to a prison sentence.

What will happen largely depends on the individual circumstances – related to the intensity of the damage and how the magistrate sees the issue.

If the damage is considered to be up to the value £5,000 then a fine of up to to £2,500 or a three-month prison sentence could be the punishment. Any damage over £5,000 could mean a maximum penalty of £5,000 and find the vandal facing a prison sentence of up to six months.

Sounds expensive.

Kitty Parsons

Kitty has forgotten how long she has been here now but she loves Pembrokeshire for its beauty and it's people. She spends her time searching out stories for, swimming in the sea , drawing and painting as Snorkelfish and eating cake. She says " has been an opportunity to celebrate this beautiful county and its people. Keep the stories coming. We love to hear from you."

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