BRITAIN’S biggest speed camera, dubbed the long eye of the law, has caught more than a 1,200 speeders in less than a month.

Ten of the drivers snapped by the powerful lens were doing more than 100mph and the worst was clocked at 126mph.

It was brought in by Gloucestershire Police to cover the A419 and A417 – a dual carriageway route that carries 35,000 vehicles a day and links Wiltshire and the M4 with the M5.

As well as picking up speeders, the Canon 100-400mm lens, which is used with a 1.4x teleconverter to increase its range, has snapped tailgaters, people without seatbelts and a mobile phone user.

Police and crime commissioner Martin Surl said: “This is not about bashing the motorist. I’m just as pleased to see police were there to help drivers in trouble as well as being able to challenge those breaking the law.

“Many people have come to me with their concerns about speeding and other safety issues along this road. This is a new model of collaborative roads policing which, if it proves a success, can be put into practice elsewhere.”

He said the aim was to help effect a change of culture on the roads to make them safer and change the way drivers related to each other.

“With our current Tri-force arrangement with Wiltshire, Avon and Somerset coming to an end next year, local roads policing will return to local control, giving us the opportunity to do that.”

The camera was set up at 35 different sites and caught 1,293 drivers over the speed limit. It also detected 35 other law breakers, including five tailgaters, seven without seatbelts, one driver using their mobile and 19 vehicle plate offences.

More than 50 drivers were given warnings or advice, there was one positive breath test, one positive drugs wipe, one drugs seizure and one ammunition and offensive weapon seizure.

Police went to three crashes and helped 10 drivers who had broken down and another 10 who needed assistance for various reasons. Six vehicles were seized for no tax or insurance.

Speed guns have been able to detect how fast cars travel but the new camera can catch vehicles up to 1km away, so approaching drivers cannot see it in time.

It produces clear video footage and still photographs of the people inside them.