No To Mob vigilante bikers declare war on Hackney council’s traffic snooper squad
A group of masked vigilante bikers on a mission to save motorists coughing up their hard-earned cash on penalty tickets were out in Hackney last week, alerting them to council CCTV cars.
Dressed in masks from the film V for Vendetta, Bald Eagle, Killswitch, Steve “Boyo” Brown and retired diplomat Coco are all from the NoToMOb campaign group, which is opposed to the use of mobile and static CCTV cameras to gain revenue for councils.
According to the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, council-operated CCTV cars are supposed to be a visible deterrent and their sole objective is meant to be 100 per cent compliance and to issue zero penalties.
But the group claims the cars regularly hide where motorists cannot see them, issuing PCN after PCN.
Through the activity they’ve dubbed $chunting – a play on words meaning “hunting $ cars” - the NoToMOb hope to prevent councils using motorists as “cash cows.”
They ride around checking the locations they know the council cars usually operate – which include Boleyn Road in Stoke Newington and Cecila Road in Dalston.
“Once found, the group “assists” the car by helping it to achieve its stated goals of being a visible deterrent and issuing zero penalties.
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“This involves warning passing motorists that the car is there and pointing out any potential infractions with warning signs,” said Steve Brown.
“For some reason, the “scamera” cars usually move off shortly after we arrive, refusing our assistance in the process - if you were cynical you might say it was all about the money,” he joked.
The group then jump on their bikes and follow the CCTV cars to their next location.
“The cycle continues until one of us gets bored,” said Steve.
“Usually the cars retreat back to their base and refuse to come out to play.”
They find people’s reaction is usually 100 per cent positive: “Gratitude, amusement, waves and thumbs up, and big smiles, plus the odd puzzled face as a couple of folks may not initially get what you are doing,” said Steve.
“Maybe we’re all frustrated street performers but I must admit you do get a great buzz out of doing it too - it’s nice knowing that not only are you helping people to be safer in their driving but they’re also saving money - which as we all know, is in short supply these days,” he added.
In a statement, Cllr Feryal Demirci, cabinet member for neighbourhoods said she wanted to make clear the council does not and cannot use CCTV as a means to generate revenue.
“When there are concerns about motorists abusing no entry restrictions, or continually parking on yellow lines or footways, the council will use its CCTV van and CCTV smart cars to stop this happening,” she said.
“Our vehicles are only used in areas where parking is a problem, or if drivers’ compliance with road signs needs improving to avoid potentially dangerous situations.”