HAMPSHIRE Police chiefs have issued a safety plea to motorists after it was revealed that 12,000 drivers were caught speeding through the M27’s temporary 50mph speed limit.

Police bosses say excessive speeds on the roads have “catastrophic consequences”.

And they have backed the use of the temporary 50mph limit, in place while Highways England upgrades the M27 to a smart motorway, saying it is in place to protect road users and workers on the motorway.

The plea comes after a Freedom of Information (FOI) request by the Daily Echo revealed how average speed cameras clocked 12,295 drivers breaking the temporary limit, between Fareham and Eastleigh, since it was introduced in February 2019.

The figures also revealed that one driver was caught speeding at 117mph through the temporary speed zone.

Commenting on the figures, a spokesperson for Hampshire Police said: “Driving at excessive and inappropriate speeds can have catastrophic consequences and cause devastation for families and loved ones of those involved in collisions as a result.

“The 50mph limit on the M27 is not just in place for the safety of all road users, but also for the safety of the workers operating along the motorway.”

Figures revealed police handed out more than 3,200 fixed penalty notices to drivers caught between February 2019 and January 2020, while 3,000 drivers were “retrained” and 1,446 drivers were prosecuted in the courts – with more cases still to come.

The temporary limit is in place while Highways England carries out a £250 million smart motorway upgrade on the M27, which will see the hard shoulder converted into a fourth lane, with emergency refuges throughout.