BRITAIN'S "most hated" speed camera on the M11 has been broken for at least six weeks, but drivers are still being targeted by mobile police units at the site.

Motorists using the M11 this week were furious to see police taking photos as cars went past the stretch of motorway that joins the North Circular in Woodford.

Driver Janice Whitlock said: "Just last week, Redbridge's police chiefs admitted there has been a shortage of police to attend incidents. Street crime and burglaries have risen but meanwhile we see police on motorways checking up on drivers. It's just a money-making scam.

"It'd be different if it was in a residential area, but this is a tiny stretch of the motorway, where there isn't much danger to pedestrians."

She added: "On Tuesday morning the traffic on the M11 was at a standstill, but there was still a policeman sitting in his van with a camera ready for when the traffic would speed up again. It's ludicrous."

Another driver, who did not want to be named, said: "I think we need speed cameras for built-up areas, but on stretches of motorway where there are no children playing it feels like we're just lining the police's pockets."

Last year a national newspaper claimed the camera on the M11 had generated over £30 million in fines over two and a half years, a figure hotly denied by the Essex Safety Camera Partnership, which runs 115 speed cameras in Essex.

Spokeswoman Kelly Fairweather said: "Last year there were 90,000 motorists in the whole of Essex who paid their £60 speeding fine. That makes £5.4 million."

She defended the partnership's decision to send a mobile police unit to the site. She said: "The electricity supply to the fixed camera was disrupted at the end of December, but while it gets fixed we still need to keep the deterrent factor there. The mobile camera enforcement units are manned by police officers working overtime."

Internet-organised group Motorists Against Detection, which claims to have 200 members, says it is behind several attacks on the camera.

A MAD spokesman, who calls himself Captain Gatso, said: "We have attacked the camera twice this year already, the last time on January 16 when we spattered paint on the camera and covered it in stickers."

But Kelly Fairweather said: "It is unlikely the cause of this camera's fault is malicious as there were no signs of vandalism when it stopped working. We hope to have it functioning again in the next couple of weeks."

Last week Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens said that speed cameras should be used for road safety, not as a way to make money.