Hoax advert for speed camera has city in a spin

BARGAIN BUY: The advert that was circulated
BARGAIN BUY: The advert that was circulated

If you are looking for a second-hand camera – one that is particularly good at snapping fast cars – you are in luck. Or at least, you were.

A hoax advert on social media selling a speed camera under a tree in Albany Road has grabbed plenty of online attention, including that of the municipality.

The ad, posted by a person using the alias Haggis, briefly states: “Grey box camera. Collect it on the side of Albany Road.”

The advert posted on Gumtree shortly before 7pm on Thursday is titled “Grey Camera” and lists the sale price as R42 750 under the “Used electronics for sale in Port Elizabeth” category.

By 7.30pm, a screen grab of the post had been circulated by numerous people via WhatsApp.

Gumtree spokesman Estelle Nagel said they were unable to confirm the number of views on the advert but confirmed they had taken it down by late yesterday morning.

“We can confirm the poster has not had any takers on his offer.

 “Perhaps the price tag of R42 750 is a little too steep as we have plenty of cameras, Go-Pros and drones that take much better photographs than the camera in question for much less,” she said.

Nagel said while there was no view count for the advert, it was not uncommon for humorous ads on their site to generate between 20 000 and 100 000 views before being removed.

Municipal safety and security head John Best said they were aware of the hoax and thought it was amusing.

“We need to laugh every now and then and I do see the humour in this.

“But we need to be realistic and those cameras are not for sale. And if anyone does take them, it is a criminal offence,” he added.

While talking about the cameras, Best said more had been placed on order and would soon be randomly set up around the Bay area.

“These cameras are on contract and used by several metros across the country. The reason we are using them is because all the permanent cameras were taken down as they were proving less effective,” he said.

“We monitored the permanent cameras and discovered motorists were speeding and then slowing down for the permanent cameras before speeding up again.”

Best said the speed cameras served to ensure speed laws were adhered to as well as to prevent accidents.

Asked about traffic updates and camera positions posted to various social media groups by a towing service, Best said traffic authorities had consulted the owner of the towing service in question and warned the person.

“If they persist and continue to place camera positions online, we will be forced to pursue criminal cases.”

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