POLICE were today hunting arsonists waging a campaign against speed cameras in two Hampshire towns.

Two cameras were set alight in just a few days in Lee-on-the-Solent and Fareham by vandals who placed petrol-soaked tyres over the cameras and set light to them.

The first camera was targeted in Marine Parade West, Lee-on-the-Solent and the second in Gosport Road, Fareham.

A Hampshire Police spokeswoman said that officers were examining CCTV footage and carrying out house-to-house inquiries.

Conservative member of Fareham Borough Council Dennis Steadman said he was disappointed by the public's reaction to the attack when he visited the burnt-out camera.

He said: "There were whoops of delight coming from the cars, but I'm afraid that's the culture we live in today."

Julian Hewitt, spokesman for Hampshire's Safer Roads Partnership, said the Fareham camera was installed after 39 collisions between 1998 and 2000, with eight of these accidents resulting in death or serious injury.

He said that five youths aged about 14 were seen to run away from the camera after the attack.

"This attack on road safety equipment is disrespectful to the victims of the collisions that have occurred on that site and displays the same sort of mindless behaviour as the vandalising of lifebelts and other life-saving equipment,'' he said.

"The cost of any repairs is met out of public money that would otherwise be invested in a range of road safety initiatives.

"The partnership is determined that any attacks on cameras will not prevent enforcement on these casualty routes and mobile units will always make certain that the road is protected until any damage can be repaired."