Ulez camera explodes 'like WW2 bomb' denting van and taking chunks out of brick wall 'after being cut down'

7 December 2023, 08:56 | Updated: 8 December 2023, 05:10

Parts of a Ulez camera exploded, causing damage on a Sidcup street
Parts of a Ulez camera exploded, causing damage on a Sidcup street. Picture: Alamy/X

By Will Taylor

A Ulez camera has exploded, leaving residents terrified and damaging a van and a wall in a blast "like a World War Two" bomb.

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The explosion happened overnight as police and firefighters rushed to the scene in Willersley Avenue, Sidcup.

Police later said it was a low-sophistication IED.

Footage of the aftermath 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.

Some believed the camera had been taken down before the blast happened, as they are targeted by anti-Ulez vandals, but that was not clear. One witness believed its electrical box had exploded.

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

"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

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

"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."

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "Police were called to Willersley Avenue, Sidcup at about 6.47pm on Wednesday, December 6 following reports that a ULEZ camera had exploded. Officers attended alongside colleagues in LFB [London Fire Brigade].

"No one was injured. No arrests have been made and enquiries are ongoing."

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.

London's mayor Sadiq 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.