Sadiq Khan condemns 'grotesquely irresponsible' Ulez camera explosion as counter terror cops investigate 'low tech IED'

8 December 2023, 12:42

Sadiq Khan has condemned the low-tech IED blast
Sadiq Khan has condemned the low-tech IED blast. Picture: Alamy/X/Facebook

By Will Taylor

Sadiq Khan has described the explosion which destroyed a Ulez camera in London as "grotesquely irresponsible".

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Counter-terror police are investigating the blast in Sidcup on Wednesday night after detectives revealed they believe the blast was a "low sophistication" improvised explosive device.

A van was damaged and a chunk of a brick wall was smashed off in the detonation.

A spokesman for Mr Khan, who has criticised some Ulez opponents for being conspiracy theorists and seen hundreds of the scheme's cameras get damaged and vandalised, said: "This grotesquely irresponsible behaviour puts both lives and property at risk.

"Police are rightly investigating this dangerous and reckless act."

The incident is not being treated as a terrorism offence at this time, police confirmed, but officers from the Counter Terrorism Command will lead the investigation.

Read more: Counter-terror police investigating Ulez camera explosion after remains of IED found at scene of the blast

A statement from the Met Police said: "The incident is being treated as a deliberate act, which was caused by what appears to be a low-sophistication improvised explosive device (IED)."

Detective Chief Superintendent Trevor Lawry, commander for the Bexley area, said: "Thankfully, nobody was injured as a result of this incident, but it is extremely concerning that an explosive device seems to have been deliberately placed in a public place.

"This could have very easily resulted in members of the public being very seriously injured.

"Because of the seriousness of this incident, we are making urgent enquiries to try and identify anyone involved, and officers with specialist expertise and capability from our Counter Terrorism Command are leading the investigation.

"This was an extremely dangerous incident that could have resulted in innocent members of the public being injured or worse. If you have any information that could assist our investigation, then I would urge you to get in touch immediately."

Ulez camera explosion in sidcup down a residential street. Someone's house windows blown out and a van damaged. Explosion could be heard as far as Danson park and welling.

Posted by Julie Graham on Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Footage captured of the incident shows a bright flash go off, with sparks jumping out, as cars pass.

Posted to Facebook, the video caption reads: "Ulez camera explosion in Sidcup down a residential street.

"Someone's house windows blown out and a van damaged. Explosion could be heard as far as Danson Park and Welling."

Police said they were called to reports of an explosion at about 6:45pm on Wednesday.

A Ulez camera, which had been installed on the road earlier in the day was cut down at about 5:15pm - police said they are not ruling out that the two incidents may be connected.

Footage of the aftermath of the blast showed debris strewn across the road, a huge dent in the side of a van and a chunk had been taken out of a brick wall.

Stunned neighbours lined the street to take in what happened. No members of the public were injured.

"Ulez camera's been dismantled, blown the geezer's van in half, shrapnel everywhere," said a man recording the aftermath.

"Broke the geezer's fence. It's like a WW2 explosion's just gone off.

Read more: Ulez camera vandal admits criminal damage with spray paint in first successful prosecution

"Well done, Sadiq."

One Reddit user said: "It was bad the explosion was so loud I though someone set of a display firework on the ground!! It blew up hit a van and smashed someone's wall!"

Another wrote: "The noise was horrendous. We thought it was a bomb. The stupid f***s that did this need prosecuting to the absolute full extent of the law.

"They're VERY lucky they didn't actually kill someone. Is that what they want? What scumbags."

Ulez cameras are being targeted by vandals
Ulez cameras are being targeted by vandals. Picture: Alamy

Ulez cameras continue to be targeted by opponents to the scheme, which charges drivers £12.50 a day if their car does not meet emissions standards.

Mr Khan has described Ulez as essential for reducing air pollution in the city.

But it has become controversial as the Conservatives try to turn some green initiatives into electoral issues after their success in the Uxbridge and South Ruislip by-election, which was effectively turned into a referendum on Ulez.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer also distanced himself from eco measures that burden poorer people.

In November, the Met said almost 1,000 crimes linked to vandalism or theft of the cameras, which record number plates to ensure cars meet requirements, had been reported.

Anyone with information that could assist with the investigation should call 101 quoting CAD 5819/06DEC.