SOMERSHAM’S new speedwatch team was out on patrol on Sunday, clocking motorists driving breaking the speed limit through the village.

SOMERSHAM'S new speedwatch team was out on patrol on Sunday, clocking motorists driving breaking the speed limit through the village.

A total of 834 vehicles were clocked on Colne Road on the approach to Somersham, with 147 - or 18 per cent - found to be travelling at more than 35mph through the 30mph zone.

It was the first outing for the village's newly-trained six-strong team, headed by St Ives speedwatch co-ordinator David McCandless and Councillor Keith Sisman. Mr McCandless led the team through an intensive three-week training course at the request of Penny Bryant, the clerk to the Parish Council after several villagers voiced their concerns at the number of speeding drivers.

The team mounted double-headed sessions between 11am and 4pm on Sunday to deter speeders, and returned figures lower than expected.

"After their intensive training, this first session was like their graduation," said Mr McCandless. "The figures we recorded were fairly typical for this sort of session. There was a period in the middle of the day which had a very low proportion, to bring down the average. The highest speed we recorded was 51mph, though I have recorded 55mph in earlier sessions.

"This was the first united village stand against irresponsible speeding drivers of all verhicles. The police have never been on Colne Road, so it was an important step to be out there.

"The bridge has for some time now, to the annoyance and intimidation of the residents all along the road, been used by joy bikers and motorists to launch themselves at speeds of up to 55mph in one direction, and try it again in the opposite direction.

"This is an area where people really need to obey the 30mph hour limit - it's a residential area with children around, a narrow footpath and the entrance to stables. People who speed are putting all of those at risk."

The Somersham Speedwatch team hope that the weekend's patrol will be the first of many, with a site on St Ives Road planned next, and the "rat-run" between Feoffees Road, Grange Road and Park Hall Road in the future.

Mr McCandless added: "The collective name for a group of speedwatchers is a "Gotcha" because that is the cry that goes out when we clock a speeding driver.

"Any vehicle reaching 35mph or more will be reported to the police, and those doing 45mph or more will have their letter hand-delivered by a uniformed constable."