Daily Mail

Carpenter vandalised Ulez camera ‘because he couldn’t pay the £12.50 a day charge’

- By Chris Pollard

A CARPENTER damaged a Ulez camera because he could not afford to pay the £12.50 fee each time he visited his sick brother, a court heard.

Stephen Nunn, 60, felt ‘penalised’ by the daily Ultra Low Emission Zone charge so masked out the lens of the enforcemen­t device.

The controvers­ial vehicle scheme was expanded in August by Labour mayor Sadiq Khan to cover every London borough, including Bromley where Nunn lived in West Wickham, He used the equipment for destroying wasps’ nests to spray the camera with white paint.

Bromley Magistrate­s Court heard he had been a hard-working, self-employed carpenter for 40 years but ran into financial difficulty two years ago due to a shoulder injury.

His lawyer Len Hodkin said: ‘He and his wife fell upon hard times. Once charges came in, he could not afford to pay £12.50 every day, so he had to pass the cost on to his customers, which made him less competitiv­e. He’s not a young man who can carry his tools on public transport. On the day in question, he had to look after his brother who suffers from bipolar disorder. Every time he leaves the house, he must pay £12.50 to visit his brother or go shopping.

‘The offence was the culminatio­n of two or three years of financial hardship, having to look after his brother and perceiving himself as being penalised due to the implementa­tion of Ulez. It’s a very divisive topic.’

Nunn was caught attacking the camera by police at 10.20pm on October 27.

In a search of his home officers found anti-Ulez parapherna­lia, including a poster stating Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had ‘blood on his hands’. The court heard that it costs £349.78 on average to clean a vandalised Ulez camera.

Nunn – his case is the first successful prosecutio­n by the Met Police involving the cameras – was released on bail ahead of sentencing for criminal damage on December 13. Police have revealed there have been 987 crimes relating to cameras in the capital, including 220 reports of them being stolen.

Mr Khan introduced the controvers­ial scheme on polluting vehicles to central London in April 2019 – and last year he announced it would be expanded to ‘to tackle air pollution and the climate crisis’.

But an independen­t assessment found that expanding the Ulez would have a ‘negligible beneficial impact’ on emissions. Critics have said the scheme means poorer people, who cannot afford to buy newer cars, have felt the brunt of the levies.

‘He felt penalised, it is a divisive topic’

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