A motorist who feared he had been caught by a speed camera destroyed it – with a hammer, a court has heard.
Desperate Jay Northey, 21, clambered on top the device in the middle of the night and began smashing it while an accomplice waited with a can of petrol to blow it up.
He caused £2,000 worth of damage before he was spotted by a passing police officer.
Because of the damage it is not known if Northey, of Plymouth, Devon, had been pictured by the device on the 40mph road.
He pleaded guilty to one count of causing criminal damage to property under £5,000 at Plymouth Magistrates Court.
Northey was given a nine month community service order and was ordered to pay £350 compensation for the broken camera.
District Judge Paul Farmer told him: ”There are many varying opinions on the use of speed cameras and how necessary they are, but it is not down to you to take the law into your own hands.
”The exact motive behind why you did this remains unclear and whether it is down to trying to stop yourself being identified on the camera is unknown.”
Northey was spotted hitting the camera with a hammer last November and then fled – along with an accomplice who was released without charge
A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Safety Camera Partnership said that the offence was taken ”very seriously” and the device was used for safety along a dangerous road.
She said: ”At 12.30am two policemen heard banging coming from across the road.
”They saw two male figures in dark clothing by the speed camera. One male was hitting the camera with a yellow hammer and the other was holding a green petrol can.
”These cameras have a heavy electrical supply so he was lucky not to have caused severe damage to himself. It was also situated across the road from a petrol station.
”Our message is that this type of incident is not tolerated and we take the matter very seriously as it can affect the safety of road users.”