Operation Eremon: Met Police launches new mission to stop anti-Ulez activists wrecking cameras

4 August 2023, 22:01 | Updated: 4 August 2023, 22:04

The Met is taking aim at anti-Ulez vandals
The Met is taking aim at anti-Ulez vandals. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

The Metropolitan Police has launched an operation to stop people wrecking Ulez cameras.

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The force is taking aim at opponents of the policy who have gone as far as damaging or stealing cameras that record vehicles that enter the zone.

Drivers whose cars and vans don't meet Ulez standards are forced to pay a £12.50 fee every day.

A total of 96 reports of Ulez cameras being vandalised was reported by early May - up from 31 before April - as a group called the Blade Runners takes credit for attacking them.

Read more: Ulez expansion delay has 'cost lives' says this frustrated Shelagh Fogarty caller

Now, the Met has launched "Operation Eremon", with a senior officer appointed to collect the reports of vandalism and theft and coordinate police investigations.

Previously, the Met said it would take aim at vandals that damage the cameras, which record number plates of vehicles entering the zone.

Ulez cameras have been vandalised
Ulez cameras have been vandalised. Picture: Alamy

Detective Superintendent Daniel Smith said before: "We have been proactively targeting those we suspect of causing or seeking to cause damage.

"We are carrying out a thorough investigation and this includes gathering CCTV, speaking to potential witnesses and following up active leads.

"We are also working with TfL to prevent further offences in the future."

Khan has offered an olive branch to opponents of the scheme, giving every Londoner access to financial help to scrap their cars if they don't meet Ulez criteria.

Read more: Sadiq Khan brands claims Ulez is unaffordable as 'nonsense' as he announces new scrappage grant

Opponents have tried to challenge the Ulez expansion
Opponents have tried to challenge the Ulez expansion. Picture: Alamy

He argues Ulez is vital to bringing down air pollution, which causes premature deaths and lung conditions.

Critics were furious at the scheme being widened to cover all of the capital from August 29, which would add another cost to squeezed motorists who also face the congestion charge and low traffic neighbourhoods.

One "Blade Runner" activist, a father in his mid-40s who wore a balaclava and declined to have his name published, said he had taken down 34 himself, and claimed many more had been targeted by others.

He claimed there were some 100 people in the anti-Ulez camera group in April.

"We are going to take down every single one no matter what," he vowed.

Recently, Tory councils, including four London boroughs, failed in a High Court bid to block the expansion.

However, neighbouring Conservative local authorities have refused to allow for Ulez signs to be built on their areas.

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