Police record nearly 300 crimes against London’s Ulez cameras

Nearly 300 crimes relating to London’s ultra-low emission zone (Ulez) cameras have been recorded, police said.

Vigilantes opposed to the huge expansion of the scheme have targeted enforcement cameras installed by Transport for London (TfL).

They describe themselves as Blade Runners, often cutting the cameras’ wires or completely removing the devices.

Some 2,750 cameras are being installed in new areas the zone will cover once it is extended to include the whole of the capital from August 29.

The Metropolitan Police launched an operation in April after TfL reported criminal damage to, and theft of, cameras.

The force said it had recorded 288 crimes relating to Ulez cameras as of August 1.

This included 185 reports of cables being damaged, 164 cameras being stolen and 38 reports of cameras being obscured.

Multiple offences can be linked to one camera, such as a cable being cut and then the camera being stolen.

A graphic showing Ulez expansion

Commander Owain Richards of the Metropolitan Police said: “These are clearly unacceptable acts of criminality and we have a team of officers investigating and identifying those responsible.

“We are providing a proportionate policing response, balancing these incidents against the wide range of operational demand and crime we must respond to across London.

“We are working closely with Transport for London and – alongside our investigation into offences already committed – we are supporting them to identify new ways to prevent further cameras from being damaged or stolen.

“We are continually reviewing where we need to focus our efforts and we will continue to do that over the coming weeks to ensure we are providing the service Londoners expect from us.”

Images emerged this week of Ulez cameras and their wires being given extra protection, including through the use of black metal boxes.

Scotland Yard released an image of a man they want to trace in connection with four camera offences in Hillingdon, Harrow and Uxbridge on June 17.

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 or contact the force’s account on Twitter, now known as X, which is @MetCC.

To give information anonymously contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or at the crimestoppers-uk.org website.

In May, Joseph Nicolls, 42, of Foots Cray High Street, Sidcup was charged in relation to damaging Ulez cameras.

Vehicles that do not meet minimum emissions standards are required to pay a £12.50 daily fee when used in the Ulez zone, or face a fine.

TfL says nine out of 10 cars seen driving in outer London on an average day comply with the Ulez standards.

Figures obtained by the RAC show more than 690,000 licensed cars in the whole of London are likely to be non-compliant.

This does not take into account other types of vehicles or those which enter London from neighbouring counties.

Motorcyclists opposed to the Ulez expansion will ride together on the M25 on Sunday.

They will gather at six locations on the outskirts of the capital before descending on Surrey’s Box Hill.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has previously described his decision to expand the Ulez area as “very difficult” but insisted it would “see five million more Londoners being able to breathe cleaner air”.