Lambeth have gone on record saying that they: “strongly reject any allegation that the council is altering or cropping photographic evidence in order to hand out penalty notices”.

What, infact they are doing is far more serious! It appears that they are 'zooming in' with the CCTV camera at the time that the alleged 'contraventions' are taking place.

It is with good reason that all Home Office approved speed cameras have a fixed focal length, because they have to provide a true and untrammeled image. What Lambeth are doing with their CCTV cameras is that they are altering the focal length (and thus angle of view) at the moment the image is recorded, this has a SERIOUS effect of the evidence. Lambeth say that the decision to issue a PCN is based on Video and not 'stills' evidence but this this is immaterial as the video evidence too is altered by this process!

Here is an example of what this means:

The first image here is of a car caught at Salters Hill, the important point to note here is the time in the bottom of the shot: 14:41:41

In this image, you can see that the silver BMW is going around the 'pinch-point' with the oncoming car some way away.

This shot is taken at EXACTLY THE SAME TIME (14:41:41). The cars HAVE NOT MOVED, but the image has been foreshortened by altering the focal length (the zoom on their camera moves extremely quickly) and the cars appear far, far closer together!!!

An expert (a television cameraman and expert in this field) contacted me and this is what he said:

The crucial photographic trick Lambeth are playing with is called "depth of field".

Put simply, when a camera zooms in, it compacts the depth of field, ie, the distance between objects, making them look much closer than they really are.

This trick is used all the time in TV, especially when for example, they want to make roads or motorways look heavily congested. Zoom in from a long distance, this reduces the depth of field by a vast amount and makes the traffic look really dense. Cars spaced out over a quarter of a mile can look as if they're all bunched up together.

In the summer it's used to get good pictures of heat rising from the ground. Zoom in from a distance, and instead of just getting the barely noticeable effect of the heatwave rising from one part of the road, you get a heavily multiplied effect.

It's used to show an exaggerated view of pollution on a hazy summer's day too. Zoom in on a hot city skyline from a distance, and several miles worth of haze gets compacted together by the lens to give the impression of smog over the city... handy for all those 'global warming' scare stories.

The same is down to show vast crowds of people.

Lambeth's zoomed in camera reduced the depth of field. Oldest trick in the photographic book.

Now, let's just re-read that quote from Lambeth again shall we? “[Lambeth] strongly reject any allegation that the council is altering or cropping photographic evidence in order to hand out penalty notices”. . .

Remember folks, that altering the focal length affects the so called 'video evidence' that Lambeth have, not just the images that they give you on the PCN and this could well make their evidence invalid!!!

If you have any comments or are an accredited member of the press and may have an interest in this story, you can contact me at: