HELENSBURGH’S police chief has issued a warning to speeding motorists – officers are watching out for you.

Inspector Roddy MacNeill told Argyll and Bute Council’s Helensburgh and Lomond area committee this week that 51,000 cars have recently had their speed monitored on the Ardoch road between Cardross and Dumbarton.

It was discovered that motorists were regularly exceeding the 40 miles per hour speed limit – but other problem areas are also being monitored.

These include the dual carriageway adjacent to Hermitage Academy, where concerns were expressed by a councillor for the safety of school pupils.

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Inspector MacNeill said: “We have officers trained with the speed guns, and are servicing the area as best we can.

“Ardoch was a particular problem area for a while. We put the rubber strips down, measuring 51,000 cars over a five-day period.

“The average speed was over the limit of 40 miles per hour. There will always be people exceeding that.

“My officers are trained with the hand-held guns, but these can only measure up to a 30mph limit, and the shape of the road doesn’t lend itself to people standing at the side.

“However, they are using their cars to sit in a drive and monitor the situation as best they can.

“The dual carriageway at Hermitage Academy, and the peninsula road, are also areas we are servicing as best we can, but people just don’t get it sometimes. We are just chipping away at it.”

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Councillor Ellen Morton, chair of the area committee, said: “Thank you for focusing on Ardoch, because it is a challenge.

“The police statistics are what they are, but the reality is that it may well not be down to speed, but how people perceive it.

“I see cars passing Hermitage Academy – a school of 1,600 children who could be crossing the road at any time – which are undertaking and overtaking, and I think ‘what kind of idiot are you?’.

“They could be putting a child’s life at risk to save two minutes of their journey.

“It is a very difficult case at Ardoch – would there be any merit in reducing the speed limit from 40 to 30 miles per hour?”

Inspector MacNeill said: “It sits between two 60 miles per hour zones, as you come out of Dumbarton and before you get to Cardross. It’s possible we could change the limit, but that’s not a decision for me.”

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Councillor David Kinniburgh said: “My recollection is that officers came back saying that there was a case to put a 30 miles per hour limit at Ardoch, because of the distance between the street lights.

“I was driving through Cardross recently when I was overtaken by a van. The ironic thing is that there was a sticker on the back of it saying ‘We promote safe and courteous driving’ – this driver did not.”

And Councillor George Freeman added: “Speeding is raised at every community council meeting. You are never going to change it – all we can do is scrape the surface.

“Some members will recall, regarding Ardoch, that it was 60 miles per hour, and was changed to 40 following a survey.”