Volunteers armed with speed guns could be out on the roads targeting irresponsible drivers, if North Wiltshire district councillor Dick Tonge wins support for his plans.

At a meeting of the district council next week Coun Tonge will be making the case for town and district councillors to have access to speed guns to monitor speeds in restricted areas.

"We know that the police are over-stretched and have little time to set up speed traps," he said.

"We also know that local people are aware where the speed problems are and that they are frustrated that nothing is being done about it.

"It therefore seems very logical to follow what Gloucestershire is doing. Using volunteers empowers local people and takes the pressure off the police."

The Community Speed Watch scheme was pioneered in Ash in South Gloucestershire and spread across the district. It involves community volunteers running speed checks.

After training, volunteers use radar guns to monitor traffic speeds, recording details of vehicles clocked over the limit so police can send a warning letter and road safety information to the registered keeper.

From time to time regular police officers who can issue fixed penalty fines to speeding motorists join the Community Speed Watch patrols to reinforce the scheme.

Information on anyone repeatedly caught by the volunteer patrols is passed to police for enforcement action.

PC Justin Diggins set up the first South Gloucestershire scheme in Winterbourne and Frenchay with funding and support from the Winterbourne Community Safety Group.

Ten speed guns, bought with £12,000 funding from the South Gloucestershire Community Safety Partnership, are now shared by schemes across the district.

Coun Tonge said road safety was a high priority for residents. And Community Speed Watch aimed to cut traffic speeds and accident numbers by providing a visible deterrent to speeding drivers.

"We need the district council to take the initiative with the police and make it happen," said Coun Tonge.

"We hear a great deal about community involvement from the council. This is an example of putting the theory into practice.

Coun Tonge's motion says: "I move the district council takes action with the police to involve community volunteers running speed checks as is being done in South Gloucestershire and that the details of the scheme are sent to town and parish councils requesting their involvement without delay."

Nick Maslen, the chief inspector for West Wiltshire said: "We are aware of this scheme. There are a number of issues which would have to be addressed regarding equipment, protective uniform and health and safety issues and we would be unable to comment further until we have seen the full resolution from the district council."