Orkney Islands Council and Kirkwall Police are warning of the potential dangers of the “irresponsible” behaviour which saw around 50 road signs in Kirkwall and the East Mainland being turned and obscured from the view of motorists this week.
Roads staff had to be deployed from other areas of work on Monday (3 May), to return the signs – including speed limit, give way, blind summit, bend ahead, ice alert, direction and passing place signs – to their correct position.
John Wrigley, OIC Roads and Environmental Services Manager, said: “With the islands being re-opened to tourists, we’re going to see the traffic numbers increase and many of the drivers will be unfamiliar with our roads and our communities. Many of these signs warn drivers of a hazard ahead so this is very irresponsible behaviour.
“As the speed signs have been turned, those unaware of when they are entering one of our communities may continue to travel through our villages at unrestricted speeds with potentially dire consequences, particularly as our children and young people are attending at schools and many use walking routes to get there.”
Mr Wrigley said that while many were returned to normal yesterday there may be further signs requiring attention and he appealed for anyone who spots one to report the matter to the council’s Customer Services Team via MyOrkney, by calling 01856873535 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Not only is this behaviour risking the welfare of our residents and visitors, but it also delays planned works, such as patching, drainage, etc, as staff are redeployed to correct the reckless behaviour of some.”
Area Commander Chief Inspector Matt Webb said many of these signs are required by law – anyone found tampering with them should be reported to Kirkwall Police by calling 101.
“The very foolish actions of some could have very serious consequences for others. Perhaps, the perpetrators should consider that their friends, work colleagues or family members may also use these roads and be unfamiliar with them. Signage is there for a very important reason and flags up potential hazards on our roads which is necessary for all motorists but particularly for those who may be new to the area.
“If anyone witnesses someone tampering with the signs if you are able please take a photo on your mobile phone, note down a description and call it in to us here at the police station so we can take action and stamp out this nonsensical and dangerous behaviour.”