DANGEROUS drivers are being forced to toe the line or face the consequences in one part of West Oxfordshire.

Villagers in Hailey, Freeland and North Leigh, all near Witney, have set up community ‘Speedwatch’ groups to deter motorists from exceeding the speed limit.

Groups of residents station themselves on known speeding hotspots with vehicle-activated signs, which tell drivers how fast they are travelling.

The Hailey group has picked up the baton from the village’s previous incarnation of the Speedwatch group, which formed about a decade ago.

While dangerous driving in the area is less common now than back then, Hailey parish councillor Andy Smith revealed there are still some worrying sights.

He said: “Some people need to be reminded it’s not a racetrack.

“Just before half-term we clocked a lady in a Range Rover on her phone doing 47mph in a 30.

“There are concerns about speeding in Hailey so having people visibly looking out for it makes people think.

“It’s quite easy to go straight through the village above the 30mph limit.”

Hailey is book-ended by 50mph and 40mph roads, with the latter’s limit brought down thanks to the efforts of the previous Speedwatch team.

This has helped tackle the problem, but earlier this year residents felt the need to ‘reinvigorate’ the group, according to Mr Smith.

They rallied volunteers and began activities with neighbourhood policing teams around three weeks ago.

Since identifying problem points around the village, including near Hailey Primary School and on the Hailey Road near Delly End, they have held six sessions in the last fortnight.

Small teams stand beside the road and record the vehicle make and model and speed travelled of offending drivers.

Their findings are reported to police, who write a ‘polite letter’ to discourage a repeat.

Officers have not had to write too many letters, but Mr Smith insisted the team’s presence was just as important as a preventative measure.

He said: “It’s about identifying those drivers that might want to speed and persuading them not to speed again.

“This is more about perception than reality.

“There’s a perception that there’s a problem but when you look at the data, the majority of people are actually within the speed limit.”

County councillor Liam Walker, of Hanborough and Minster Lovell division, joined the Hailey team earlier this month.

Mr Walker is trying to set up a similar group in the latter village and praised the work of existing groups.

He said: “I’m really pleased to see another Community Speedwatch Group has been set up in one of our villages in West Oxfordshire.

“These schemes are a brilliant way to involve the community in helping to tackle the issues around speeding that is sadly all too common in our villages.

“As a local county councillor I find the data collected from these groups to be really helpful.

“With this data it allows me to explore ways with our Highways Team at Oxfordshire County Council as to whether traffic calming measures would have a positive impact in helping to reduce speeding in a particular area.

“I look forward to helping this new group in Hailey and other groups in my division in the near future.”