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Council rejects 'illegal camera' claims

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Manchester City Council has rejected claims it is illegally raising revenue by using public surveillance cameras to catch out motorists.

Celebrity lawyer Nick Freeman - known in the media as ‘Mr Loophole’ accused the authority of unlawfully prosecuting motorists after using the cameras to fine drivers who stray into bus lanes.

He says the devices are being used for traffic monitoring even though they are not designated speed or enforcement cameras, and has called on the council to reimburse fines and be prosecuted if it is proved to have committed any wrongdoing.

He also claims the council ignored a Freedom of Information request made three months ago about its alleged misuse of the cameras.

But defending the authority, Martin Lee, head of Street Management at Manchester City Council, said all the cameras were fully compliant with the relevant road traffic legislation and met all the necessary obligations under the Data Protection Act.

He added: “We are baffled by the accusation that we have not replied to a Freedom of Information request.

“We have not had one directly from Nick Freeman - in fact the only FOI request we received in relation to surveillance cameras came from another individual in May 2009 and this information was supplied on June, 1 2009.”

The lawyer patented his nickname after becoming famous for using technicalities to defend celebrities facing driving offences.

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