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The first junction lights were inspired by railway signals

Traffic lights celebrate 150th anniversary

The traffic light is celebrating its 105th anniversary today. Invented by Nottingham railway engineer John Peak Knight, the first ever gas-powered traffic light was unveiled outside the Houses of Parliament on 9 December 1868 at the junction of Great George Street and Bridge Street in Westminster. Knight had been inspired by the railway signalling system and decided to adapt it for the roads using red and green gas-powered lamps so pedestrians could navigate the horse-drawn traffic. A leaky gas mains resulted in one of the traffic lights exploding and seriously injured the policeman in charge of operating it a month later.

“It meant that even though this first traffic light of its time on the roads of Great Britain was introduced in 1868, it then disappeared in the UK for more than 40 odd years,” explains Edmund King, president of the AA. “It didn’t come back to Britain until about 1925.” Around 1929 the first electric signals started becoming commonplace in London.

According to the AA, between 2000 and 2008 there was a 30 per cent increase in traffic lights across the UK and 25 per cent in London, bringing an extra 6,000 traffic lights to the country.


Leg found in river belonged to missing mother

A human leg found in a river has been confirmed to be the limb of a woman who went missing from her home in Greater Manchester a year ago.

Police were called after human remains were seen in a stretch of the River Irwell close to Whit Lane in the Salford area shortly before 9am on Wednesday.

DNA testing then confirmed the leg belonged to Marie Scott, who was reported missing from her home in Hale near Altrincham on 18 December last year, said Greater Manchester Police (GMP).

The family of the 58-year-old mother of two were said to be “distraught” at the news of the discovery. The force said an investigation is ongoing, but at this stage there is no reason to believe there was any foul play or suspicious circumstances. Ms Scott was last seen on Rochdale Road in Bury. She was captured on CCTV walking towards a shop at The Rock shopping centre.


Man dies after being hit by black cab

A man has died after being hit by a cab in Manchester shortly after he was released from a police station. Greater Manchester Police said the man, who was in his 60s, was walking in the southbound carriageway of Stockport Road in Longsight in the early hours of yesterday morning when he was hit by a black cab. He had earlier been arrested on suspicion of committing a public order offence and was released with a fixed penalty notice.

As a result of the man’s contact with police, the incident has been referred to the Independent Office of Police Conduct. The driver of the black cab, a man in his 70s, remained at the scene and assisted the police. No arrests have been made.


Gangster’s trainer collection to be sold at police auction

A convicted gunman’s collection of expensive designer trainers are to be sold at auction by police to fund crime-fighting projects. The 55 pairs of shoes, which include the brands Gucci, Christian Louboutin, Valentino, Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton and Jimmy Choo, were seized from 22-year-old Isaiah Hanson-Frost after he was arrested over a shooting in Gloucester. Hanson-Frost was later jailed for six years and agreed to surrender his valuable trainers – except for any Nikes worth under £100.

Gloucestershire Police hopes the sale of the shoes will raise around £18,500 for the High Sheriff’s Fund, which funds schemes to prevent young people from getting involved in crime. Detective Inspector Dave Shore-Nye said: “We often see the reason for someone to commit crime is down to their own personal greed and to make money.”

Hanson-Frost, of Millbrook Street, Gloucester, denied possession of criminal property but agreed to surrender his trainers to police at a court hearing last month.