ARSONISTS used a huge tyre stuffed with rags to torch a speed camera in the early hours of Wednesday morning - just weeks after it had been replaced after being vandalised.

Residents of Marlow Road, Lane End, slept unaware as the vandals started the fire just metres from their homes and were only alerted to the danger when they saw flames through their windows.

One man said: "I was upstairs and saw an orange glow and saw it was on fire so I called the fire brigade."

Officers arrived quickly on the scene and put the fire out before it could spread but the camera sustained smoke damage and has been left blackened and broken. It was due to be repaired last Friday.

The tyre was also left blocking the pavement when the rubber melted.

Mrs Evans, who lives on Marlow Road, said: "There was horrible smoke and we were anxious about our neighbour's house because they are on holiday."

The camera is located at the end of the High Street where the 30mph zone ends. Motorists often accelerate past the houses as they leave the village and get caught on the camera.

Mrs Evans said: "We like the camera there because we can get out of our drive more easily. We have had a lot of accidents on this road."

However David Van der Sypen, 70, from Stokenchurch, often uses the stretch of road and believes there is no history of accidents there.

He said: "Everybody I talk to thinks it's wrong and that it's an offensive item because there is no necessity."

He thinks the camera is only there to make money and said: "If there is a history of accidents tell us where and when they were and we will say fair enough'."

He added: "I am not anti cameras. I think they are a good idea in the right place and for the right reasons."

Thames Valley Safer Roads Partnership is investigating the incident.

Spokesman Dan Campsall said: "We take these matters very seriously; this is criminal damage to public property and creates a significant risk to the safety of the public."

The camera had only just been replaced after vandals cut through the arm with an angle grinder and dumped it nearby.