SPEEDING drivers in the Fordingbridge area will be snared by residents volunteering to be the eyes and ears of police.

An eight-strong group of residents from Sandleheath, Martin, Damerham and the surrounding villages, have been given specialist camera equipment to catch people in the act and hand over the evidence to police.

The Community Speed Watch scheme will then see officers writing to drivers warning of the dangers of driving too fast.

To date, of the 132 motorists snapped by residents using tripod mounted devices, 18 were caught speeding and have received warning letters from Hampshire Police.

If motorists receive two warning letters and are caught a third time, the police will take enforcement action.

Police chiefs say the idea is to empower local people to tackle drivers who are putting their own lives as well as others at risk.

It also aims to educate motorists on the effects of speeding and to reduce the problem in communities.

PC Russell Skinner said: "Speeding is one of the priority problems for local communities. Community Speed Watch empowers local communities to tackle speeding, or the perception of speeding, motorists.

"Volunteers who have been trained by us can go out and use the equipment as often as they wish. We give residents the chance to tackle speeding at the times when they think it is a problem.

"The Speed Watch scheme adds another layer to our police work. We support the scheme by means of training the volunteers and finding suitable locations. We then go out with the volunteers to make sure they are happy with working the equipment and engaging with the public.

"This is a national scheme that has been successful in other communities, which is why we have launched it in New Forest North. It is primarily about educating motorists and helping them change their driving habits."

If anyone would like to volunteer for the scheme, call PC Skinner on 101 or email him at fordingbridge.snt@hampshire.pnn.police.uk .