Thousands of drivers tricked by fake 50mph sign on A20 must pay fines, say police

ANPR cameras (Getty )
ANPR cameras (Getty )

Around 600 drivers seeking to overturn fines for speeding after a fake 50mph sign was placed on a dual carriageway in south east London will not have their penalties waived, the Metropolitan Police said.

Thousands of motorists were ticketed on the A20 near Sidcup on a stretch of the road where the speed limit had been temporarily dropped from 70mph to 40mph by Transport for London due to persistent flooding.

Police say the 50mph sign was installed by an “unauthorised third party” on January 24 after speed cameras were set to match the lowered limit.

CCTV generated hundreds of automatic fines and penalty points to drivers who were guided by the incorrect sign.

While the Met admits the sign should not have been there, it “would not have impacted the enforcement of the 40mph average speed limit”.

Twelve local MPs have written to London mayor Sadiq Khan urging him to cancel the fines.

Jonathan Devito, who drives for a living, was caught out by the rogue sign.

Mr Devito already has three points on his licence. He received three penalty notices due to his use of the A20 putting him at risk of a driving ban.

He told BBC News: “When you know that you’re going to lose your licence, your income.

“I didn’t want to tell the wife, I didn’t want to go out. It was just dreadful.”Solicitor Dominic Smith, of specialist motoring firm Patterson Law, said he and his colleagues had been contacted by 600 affected drivers in the last week, of which more than 150 are at risk of being banned.

Fake sign was place on the A20 near Sidcup (
Fake sign was place on the A20 near Sidcup (

He said: “I haven’t ever seen anything quite like this, on this magnitude.

“Usually when a new speed camera goes up, we can tell here because we get maybe about two or three enquiries a day for a couple of days – 40 to 50 a day we’re getting at the moment. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “Our prosecutions team, which deals with speeding offences, has taken legal advice and the location of the 50mph sign would not have impacted the enforcement.”

The force claimed if a motorist was to have travelled through the section signed as 40mph at the maximum permitted speed of 40mph, then sped up to 50mph after seeing the now-removed fake sign, their average speed on the section would not have resulted in them being issued with a speeding ticket.

The placing of the bogus 50mph sign is being investigated as an attempt to pervert the course of justice.

A Transport for London spokesman said: “Safety is our number one priority and we have temporarily introduced a 40mph speed limit on the A20 Sidcup Road due to ongoing surface water flooding which has caused a number of safety concerns and serious risk to road users.

“The reduced speed limit has been introduced in response to that risk. Major work is required to put in place permanent measures to tackle flooding here and we are working to do this as soon as possible. We plan to begin construction work on these measures in May.”