A FOURTH speed camera on the A68 has been cut off by, who police believe is, a protestor.

Three of the devices, which are valued at around �10,000 each, were attacked last year along the trunk road between Soutra and Newtown St Boswells.

And on Sunday night the camera crook struck again - this time sawing through the pole and removing the entire device at the site just north of Lilliardsedge.

A spokesman for Lothian and Borders Police told us: "Like the other incidents the whole unit has been taken.

"Early indications show that a Stihl saw or something similar was used - and we are linking this latest theft with the ones last year." Officers believe the thief struck between 11pm on Sunday and midnight.

And it would have taken at least ten minutes to have sawn through the pole and removed the camera. The spokesman added: "If anyone saw or heard anything we would like to hear from them." Previously the camera at the Newtown St Boswells bypass was cut off at the start of December. And the devices at Birkenside, just north of Earlston and at Headshaw, just north of Oxton. were taken earlier in the year.

Police are treating the crimes as theft, vandalism and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Inspector Brian Jones, Scottish Borders Road Policing Branch for Lothian and Borders Police, made an appeal for information. He said: "If any member of the public has information they think might relate to any of the crimes please contact the police on 0131 311 3131 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. It could be that a passing motorist witnessed what they thought was a maintenance vehicle servicing the camera and this might not have been the case." The safety cameras are located at places where there is a history of collisions and speeding. It is claimed that removing them from their locations puts motorists at a greater danger.

The previous three cameras sites along the A68 have all been identified for upgrading over the next few months with new digital devices to be installed.