What happens when you get caught by a speed camera?

Speed camera fine - what happens now?

Have you recently been caught by a speed camera? Read this easy-to-understand guide on what to expect, what to do and when to do it.

It happens to everybody eventually. You’re driving along, minding your own business. You’re not really aware of how fast you’re travelling. All of a sudden there’s a flash in your rear view mirror and you realise that you’ve been caught by a speed camera.

Timing: When do you receive a speed camera fine?

One of your first concerns after triggering the dreaded speed camera flash is probably the cost of any fine.

Don’t worry about that for now. Firstly, the police have 14 days in which to serve the registered keeper of the vehicle with a ‘notice of intended prosecution’ (NIP). This sets out the details of the alleged offence.

Study the NIP closely. Make sure you abide by any conditions and timescales given. If the police haven’t sent you an NIP within 14 days, you have escaped prosecution!

Caught by a speed camera: Offences and monetary fines

For most offences captured by a speed camera, you’ll receive a minimum penalty of £100 and three points on your licence.

However, new laws came into effect in April 2017 that have made things a lot more complicated. Fines are now graded according to both the level of speeding and your weekly salary.

Speeding penalties are now classified into three bands:

  • Band A for minor excesses (for example, up to 40mph in a 30mph zone)
  • Band B for moderate excesses (for example, up to 50mph in a 30mph zone)
  • Band C for major excesses (for example, more than 50mph in a 30mph zone)

Instead of fixed penalties based on your speed, the new system also takes your earnings into account, using the followoing formula:

  • Band A: 50% of your weekly salary, plus 3 penalty points
  • Band B: 100% of your weekly salary, plus 4-6 penalty points or disqualification for up to 28 days
  • Band C: 150% of your weekly salary, plus 6 penalty points or disqualification for up to 56 days

There is also some flexibility (plus or minus 25%) in the fine, based on other circumstances. Speeding around a school or busy pedestrian area will probably get your fine bumped up, whereas a similar speed on a deserted road in the middle of nowhere may get you a bit of leniency.

What to do if you're caught by a speed camera - The Car Expert

Caught by a speed camera: Penalty points

In addition to the cash penalty, you will normally receive between three and six penalty points, depending on the offence (see above).

Anything above six penalty points will almost certainly be heard in court, due to the severity of the offence.

Penalty points are valid on your licence for three years from the date of the offence, or if your case is heard in court, from the date of your conviction.

However, you may only apply for the endorsement to be removed from your licence completely after four years.

Most insurers don’t penalise for three penalty points. However, if you receive further endorsements within three years, you’re likely to see a significant rise in your car insurance premium.

Speed awareness courses

Most police forces offer speed awareness courses, although usually only if you have a clean licence. If you do get to go on a speed awareness course, you’ll avoid having your licence endorsed but you’ll have to pay to attend the course.

If you haven’t been offered a speed awareness course, it is worth asking the issuing force to consider this as an alternative. They are not obliged to accept your request, however.

If you have previous endorsements, you will not be offered a speed awareness course.

Appealing a speed camera penalty

You have the right to appeal a fixed penalty notice within 28 days of issue.

Your case will be referred to court where, for less serious offences, a magistrate will consider your appeal.

Unless you have good grounds for appeal, think carefully before taking this route. If your appeal is unsuccessful, the fine is likely to be higher than the original penalty.

More serious speeding offences

Committed a serious speeding offence, such as high-speed motorway driving? The police force has six months from the date of the incident in which to lodge papers at court.

The pursuing police force will brief you of the process in writing. Before entering into any communications, you should find a solicitor and take legal advice.

There is no set formula with court-heard cases, as every scenario is different. Before entering a plea of mitigating circumstances, once again it’s recommended you take legal advice.

Have you been caught by a speed camera? Or are you not sure if you have been flashed? Let us know in the comments below!

You should also read: The five worst habits of Britain’s drivers

This article was originally published in 2013, and last updated in July 2017 with the latest information about the 2017 changes to speeding fines.

Advice provided is suitable for UK residents only. If you live outside the UK, you should consult local advisory services regarding the implementation of speed camera penalties for your country.

What to do when you're caught by a speed camera - TheCarExpert.co.uk

This article was written by James Sheehan.


  1. I think that people would be much more supportive of speed cameras if they thought that it actually made roads safer instead of just revenue raising for the government.

  2. Hello there!!! I have been caught on camera speeding on M11 going to Stansted the thing is, its already 2 months gone and I still didn't have any letters, is this ok???

  3. stuart

    Hi Miriama. I would have thought that if it was 2 months ago and you haven’t heard anything, you should be I’m the clear. Fingers crossed.

  4. why is you get three points on your licence, £100 pound fine and also your car insurance goes up as well. perhaps the insurance companies are jumping on the band wagon by over inflating car insurance. I do agree with speed cameras but where i live we have six speed cameras and then we have the mobile police vans parked in areas along the route easy pray for the police i think

  5. up to how long after being caught on a speed camera is it still legal for action to be taken, iv'e been waiting nearly 4 weeks so far.

  6. I was ‘flashed’ this morning in very heavy fog. I didn’t know what the local limit and was unable to see any sings. Will I get prosecuted?

  7. I got caught speeding doing 86 in a 70 will I get points and a fine or have to go to court?

  8. Hi I was passing a speed camera when it was getting serviced by someone, when I passed doing 28mph it flashed twice plus the camera was lowered

  9. stuart

    I’d imagine you’re pretty safe there: a) you weren’t speeding, and b) sounds like it was undergoing maintenance, so it may have just been coincidence that the flash went off as you were passing by.

  10. Ok I’m going to have to admit something here. I got caught doing 37 in a 30 zone last weekend and got the intent to prosecute this weekend. It was posted out as quickly as it came through my door with all my details needed. What has worried me is that I had owned the car less than a year and inadvertently over-ran it’s mot. By more than a few days… will this have been picked up by a standard gatzo? Will it be picked up over the course of this speeding fine being processed? I have since had to scrap the car as it had failed it’s mot and the repairs uneconomical so no longer own the car. But obviously I’m extremely paranoid and nervous as I’ve never been this lapse before with my vehicles and don’t know what’s in store for me. I’ve never had a vehicle offence before in my 7 years driving

    Anyone have any advice on the issue?

  11. stuart

    I don’t know if the police cross-check MOT and insurance records when sending out speeding fines. Someone else may have experience in this area, but I’d say there is a fair chance that the systems may run a check to make sure that any cars caught are legally registered and MOTed.

  12. you are a women. who cares?

  13. dear Stephen,
    lies, there was no fog.

  14. Hopefully Darren, court.

  15. Oh yay, a troll has joined the website.

  16. I got done doing 48 on the A5 I always use this road which has always been 50 i was dreaming away approaching roadworks and didn’t notice the new temporary change in road speed down to 40 mph the new sign was approx 100 yards before the camera, I’ve retraced my steps and that was the only sign, the previous was 50mph is that right ? Can they give you such little notice? Anybody know ?t
    Thanks michael

  17. Got caught doing 48 in a 40. Was in a 50 Zone and think i didnt slow down fast enough. Any chance ill be offered the course? Its my first offence

  18. I was doing 30 behind a bus and was unable to see the speed limit signs, I started to overtake the bus but wasn’t going outrageously fast, I didn’t see the camera flash because as I passed the bus the camera was there as if the bus was between me and the camera the full time, will I be alright ?

  19. stuart

    This is not something we can really advise upon. If the camera could identify you, and you were exceeding the speed limit, then you can expect to get penalised (assuming the camera had any film in it – plenty don’t and are inactive).

  20. I have been caught on camera in 30 area doing 42 on a 3 year contract hire car, I received notice after two months (06/08/2014) and date on letter was 04/08/2014, do I need to do anything?

  21. Does the smart motorway on the m5 bristol work when not in use. I was led to believe it was only in use when illuminating a speed. I got flashed when no speed was showing am I going to be expecting a letter many thanks shane

  22. stuart

    If no speed is showing, I would assume that the speed limit is the usual motorway speed limit of 70mph.

  23. I think I got caught about 10 days ago – just waiting on the letter now in the next few days. I think I was doing 58 at the very most in a 50 zone. will I be caught?

  24. stuart

    Probably, although there is no guarantee that just because there was a flash, that the camera was active. But I’d still be expecting an unwelcome letter in the post.

  25. I may have been caught on a 60mph Dual Carriageway. I couldn’t say what speed as my speedometer has been inaccurate to a shocking level in the past but was probably anwhere from 70 up to 90 at the point id have been in range. What Is the speed that is considered “excessive” and gives them 6 months to lodge court papers? Or do those court papers still require an NIP prior to them within the 14 days?

  26. Im sure Ive read that they cant prosecute at a new speed limit for a certain time after the change. In other words it would still be 50 in the camera’s case. I dont know if theres any truth in that

  27. I got caught doing 35 in a 30 in porthcawl. I have received the intent papers. My first offence in 14 years. Omg.

  28. I’m in the process of moving, and have been doing a lot of millage over this period. I haven’t changed my licence or log book yet and was wondering if I can check if there are any fines coming my way as I have left no forwarding address at my last property.?

  29. Hi, I was in a 30mph zone. A bus had pulled over at a bus stop, all the other cars in front of me had gone round it – as I was going round it it decided to pull out and started along, there was oncoming traffic coming forward so I sped up to make sure I didn’t hit the cars coming forward. The speed camera was bang in front of me and think I was going about 36.

    Do you think I’ve got a right to appeal?

  30. stuart

    Probably not, as the counter argument is that you could have slowed down and tucked back in behind the bus rather than speeding up to get in front of it. Of course, you may not even get a fine if the camera was pointed at the other lane and you were presumably on the wrong side of the road.

  31. Hi, my wife has somehow got caught doing over 50 60 or below within the space of a few weeks on the temp speed limit on the m1 between junction 28 and 31. The first two came through within a couple of days of each other. She is adamant she hasn’t been speeding, guessing ignorance isn’t an excuse or is it?

  32. stuart

    Nope, it’s not an excuse. The only possibility would be if the temporary signs were not properly displayed. But they almost certainly would have been, so she’s going to have to pay up…

  33. received my notice to prosecute today i had been traveling at 48 in a 30 zone, silly mistake.
    my questions are,

    i have just passed my test for the 2nd time after having my licence revoked back in 2007, im i classed as a new driver even though i held my licence for 10 years till the ban ?

    and what amount of points can i expect ?

    cheers for any information

  34. stuart

    Hi Pete. Not sure, not really an area I have any experience with. Try asking your local police office.

  35. Caught speeding by police mobile camera and pulled over. Took 4 weeks to be issued with fine and points notice. I thought this had to be done in 14 days? Does the delay make any difference?

  36. I was caught doing 36 in a 30 mph zone. i have a clean licence and i was actually slowing down but the camera still flashed will i be getting points. is it possible i can just get a fine alone with no points? if not is it possible i may do a speed awareness course?

  37. stuart

    Hi juwon. The penalties are pretty much standard, so chances are you will be getting points and a fine. “I was actually slowing down” isn’t a great defence, as you are admitting to going even faster before reaching the camera…

    The option to take a speed awareness course is at the discretion of the local authorities, and varies across the country.

  38. At what point may i ask to take the speed awareness course as i just received the nip through the post and i’m still fill it out

  39. I got caught 27 in a 20 zone owe fault my mother had a fall at home fracture d hip still in hospital I panicked at the time will I get points or can I go on speed awhereness course

  40. stuart

    Hi Trevor. It varies among different police forces and districts. I suggest checking the local police website or giving them a call to find out more.

  41. I think I got flashed. Not sure whether it was the camera opposite the road or the car approaching me from behind. I think I was doing 32 or 33. Didn’t see the Gatso camera as it was obscured by tree branches. Do you think I have a chance of appealing?

  42. stuart

    You’ll have to wait and see what the infringement notice says if/when you get one. At the end of the day, they are programmed to take a photo if you are speeding, so if you were over the limit then you will get a fine.

  43. Hi my wife was traveling at 35 on 30mph zone and had a flash will she get a ticket? Can we appeal after two weeks if we don’t get nothing?

  44. stuart

    No way of knowing until a ticket arrives, and if you don’t get a ticket then there’s nothing to appeal.

  45. 19 days has elapsed since I got flashed and I still haven’t recieved NIP letter. I think I can safely say I wasn’t me who’d got flashed. Talk about anxiety!

  46. Hi I have been flashed last night on A12 I was doing 60 in 50 zone I go pass that camera every day for the past 3 years never flashed before but last night all of a sudden it did. It was 5:00AM and it was my first ever flash!! will I be penalize??? my license is clean as well!!!

  47. stuart

    Well by your own admission “I was doing 60 in a 50 zone”, so you may have a fine on its way soon. I don’t think they will accept the excuse that you haven’t been caught for the last three years.

  48. so they don’t show any leniency if it’s a first offense!! no warning or any course to do…

  49. Think I may have absent mindedly passed a mobile van at about 29 in a 20. My stupidity. Question is, I need to hang on to my licence over Christmas to hire a car overseas and I suspect that at this time the powers that be will be processing it with points. Is there anyway if I can pay the fine on time and postpone sending off original of my licence until I get back?. Reckon there could be an over lap of a week or so if notice takes 14 days to arrive.

  50. there was an enforcement man with a speed camera. I was driving around 35 on road of 30. will I get a ticket

  51. dose a mobile (van camera) have to flash to catch you speeding ? i passed a mobile van camera in a 50mph zone doing 58mph but camera never flashed so not sure if to expect a ticket.
    this was 13 days ago.

  52. They don’t have to flash no but I went passed one in a 50 at 60 and got nothing (speed limit change on a dual carriageway badly signed) so you may be ok anyway.

  53. thanks mike just waiting for the post man this morning hopefully he wont bring me a present LOL ,so no mail tomorrow ( sunday ) then my 14 days are up.

  54. yee haaa no ticket today, but i am not counting my blessings yet i will give it untill monday.
    but it has taught me a lesson i will be more vigilant and i will slow down.

  55. I have been advised today (02/12/2014) that I have been caught speeding on the A14 near Cambridge. It’s a 70mph limit as it’s a 3 lane dual carriageway, but the offence was 16/10/2014, by my calculations a full 47 days after the offence. My situation is that I deliver demo cars all over the UK, and as such the vehicle was registered (in this case) to Volvo UK, so the ticket will have gone to their head office in Maidenhead first, then passed onto my company office in Oxfordshire. The woman in our office who called me today to tell me of my ticket, admitted she’d sent it onto another driver by mistake hence the long time in my being notified.
    So my question is this……do I have any leeway whatsoever to appeal this ticket, or is it what could be described as ‘unusual circumstances’?

  56. stuart

    Unfortunately, I’d doubt it. You’d have to take it up with Volvo UK if you want compensation.

  57. I was approaching a set of traffic lights with speed ceras where lines are marked on the road. The traffic light was Amber, I tjiugh I would make it but I could not so I did break and stopped making sure I don’t go through the traffic lights however having said that the cameras still flashed, does that mean I got a fine?

  58. So apologies for the typos. Hope you can help me, let me know if any further clarity is required

  59. stuart

    Hi Ameen. You may receive a fine, but hopefully it would be reviewed before they send it out and they would realise. If you do receive a fine, you should have good grounds to appeal it.

  60. i received a speeding fine in the post, Saying i was caught doing 41mph in a 30 mph zone, and carried on at that speed past the camera. Now i know this is wrong on two accounts. 1. I was warned by a motorist that there was a police camera van ahead. and 2. As i had also seen the Mobile Camera i had clocked my speed at 29 mph. is there anything i can do?

  61. stuart

    Often the mobile units can detect your speed at a range well before you see them, so by the time you slow down it’s already too late.

  62. I wasn’t speeding, usually the only time I go above 30ish is when I’m overtaking. Is there anyway I can get a copy of the speed is was meant to be doing.

  63. stuart

    You’ll need to challenge it with the relevant police department.

  64. I’ve just received a fine from the dreaded M5 region where “Motorway Management” is now in force. I didn’t realise that speed limits shown in red circles on the gantry were mandatory and not advisory as they are on older gantries. I simply thought it was new look tech! Anyway, that’s beside the point – I post it as a warning to others. My question though is that the offence was on 15 Dec, but I only received the fine today on the 8th Jan (postmarked 6th Jan). I thought the police had to issue it within 14 days. Am I able to contest on that aspect (I was only fractionally over the limit for a very short distance).

  65. When I thought I got caught the rule was if the post date is beyond 14 days you can purely reject it. I don’t see why a managed motorway would be exempt from that. If the post mark is 6th as you say then it was sent way after 14 days later even if you factor in 2 bank holidays for Xmas and Boxing Day even with new years day it would be over 14 days.

  66. Just forgot to add that if you were in a company car then chances are you’re bang to rights as it only has to get to the company within 14 days not the driver.

  67. stuart

    Hi Simon. Yes, any speed sign which contains the speed inside a circle is a legal limit. Speed signs which are not enclosed in a circle are advisories only.

    We can’t advise as to your likelihood of success in contesting any penalty, but there are plenty of legal firm which specialise in this sort of issue and can advise you accordingly (usually an initial consultation won’t incur a charge, or only a small one).

  68. My question has been asked previously, although I couldn’t see a reply.

    I was in my friend’s car on the 26th of December, using the M4 or M25 and we believe he got flashed at 100mph+

    Would this result in a NIP (within 14 days) or could it take anywhere up to six months to receive anything as the article wasn’t clear. Or would he be eligible to receive both?



  69. stuart

    Hi Mike. I’m not sure (I didn’t write this article), but it would appear to depend on whether the incident was deemed a serious offence. Even if it is deemed serious, I doubt that the police will take six months to get hold of your friend – but they legally have six months to do so. I would imagine that your friend will be hearing from them soon enough.

  70. The speed camera caught me and probably the police sent to me the penalty speed where I was living because I don’t provide my new address as now living with friends only temporary…This is the second house I changed in 2 month…
    Might be somebody put the letter which they sent after I moved in the bin knowing that I don’t live there anymore.
    If the police sent something to me to pay, what should I do?

  71. The photo probably wasn’t good enough for them to use so it just gets scrapped. 1 in 7 are good enough to use. Not all cameras have film in when they flash

  72. stuart

    Hi Faouaz. The requirement is for the police to deliver the NIP to the address of the registered keeper within 14 days. It is your responsibility to make sure that your address is correct.

    If you think you should have received a penalty (or any other mail, for that matter), you should be getting in touch with the new residents at your registered address to try and collect it. And change your address details with the DVLA. And next time, maybe try mail forwarding.

  73. i got cought doing 100mph in a 70 by a hand held camra 27/06/14 i got the letter and filled in part 3 to say i was driving which i sent back on the 05/08/14 but still not had nothing back? do they have so long to take me to court?

  74. Hi,

    I received a speeding ticket but I’m 100% certain I was not driving, the time and date makes no sense, and I am the only one who drives my car. The only thing that makes sense about the ticket is that the route is my regular route for work but the ticket was issued on a Saturday at 9.42 pm (I have 2 small kids that would have been in bed by this time). I work in an office Mon-Wed 9-5, so I have no business on that route at the day and time, this ticket makes no sense to me at all except that there’s a fault with the camera maybe and got it’s time and date mixed. This is not to say I register speeding at any other time on this route, there’s usually traffic on the route anyway so you hardly ever go faster that the speed limit of 50, also they stated that it was a temporary road work camera?? They sent a picture of my car plate but that’s all, no picture of who may be driving the car. I have been taking to court and I will be pleading not guilty as I cannot take the blame for something I have not done. my question is do I need a solicitor to go to court with me or can I plead my case by myself? I’m already annoyed to have to take time off work to attend a hearing, I don’t really want to fork solicitor’s fee as well. Thank you.

  75. stuart

    Hi Danny. My understanding is that they have 6 months from the date of the incident to issue a court summons, but you are probably better off getting official legal advice or maybe try the forum at legalbeagles.info

  76. stuart

    Hi Bukky. You are certainly allowed to represent yourself, and plenty of people will do so for speeding offences. However, your chances of success are more likely if you engage a solicitor who specialises in motoring law.

    You will need to show that you couldn’t have been driving the car at 9.42pm on a Saturday and that should really be enough to get the penalty withdrawn. It is entirely possible that there was a fault with the camera, as it happens from time to time and the government basically hopes that people just pay up without contesting.

  77. Just been flashed about 05.20am by a high camera by a crossroads, tcto be honest i thought it was a camera for when you went through a red light but obviosly not, it was a 30 zone and i was probably doing about 40 which is unusual for me to speed so gutted but its my own fault what should i expect.

  78. I got a letter from police for speeding (captured by automatic speed camera) on London Road, Uckfield. However there is no speed camera on the road, I have checked it several times. What should I do?

  79. stuart

    It could have been a mobile camera in a van. You should be able to ask for the photo to prove it was you.

  80. Thanks Stuart! If I ask for photo prove, would I still be offered speed awarnce course because I wasn’t speeding too much?

  81. stuart

    That depends on the policies of the police force where you were caught. Different jurisdictions have different rules for awareness course options.

  82. Hi There!
    I am concerned that I may have missed the letter with a speed limit fine. I am sharing flat with other people and the letter may have been lost. Is there anywhere where I can check whether I was actually fined (it’s been more than 14 days now)


  83. Hi. I got flashed doing 95mph in a 70mph dual carriageway at night with no other traffic. I was rushing to rhe hospital with my pregnant wofe in the passenger seat in late stages of labour. Is it worth challenging the NIP?

  84. stuart

    Hi Mark. I’m sure they won’t accept it as an excuse, but you’re welcome to try.

  85. I imagine if anything you’ll make it worse as they’d take it to court potentially if you were to challenge it and they’d question why you risked the safety of your wife and unborn child by driving over the speed limits. I personally wouldn’t challenge this one.

  86. Hi, i was changing lanes and i was looking to my mirror had to add some speed but i dont think so the camera flashed. If the camera flashed would i notice it even if i was looking in my mirror, and is it 2 flashes?

  87. hi, i just went past a mobile speed camera at about 40 in a 30 zone, the speed limit changed not even a mile up the road i only passed my test ed of 2013….will i loose my licence :(

  88. hi i just passed a mobile speed camera at 40mph in a 30mph zone, the speed limit changed not even half a mile up the road, i only passed my test end of 2013…..what will be the consequences? :(

  89. stuart

    The fact that the speed limit changed further down the road will be completely irrelevant. I don’t know if you will lose your licence, but you will almost certainly get a fine and some points.

  90. Is there a statutory distance within a 30 limit for the camera and road lines to be sited? I drove through a new Truvelo installation yesterday at about 35, and the road lines were only 10 m inside the 30 zone, with the camera 20 M further on. I had already slowed from the 40 limit preceding it, and would have been down to 30 a few Metres further in, camera or not. It didn’t flash, but I believe Truvelos are infra-red. I thought you had to be 150 Metres into the limit to be fined. I have only had one other incursion in 50 years, (68 in a short 50 section of an otherwise 70 dual carriageway) by a hand-held device, and when I questioned the police officer on his siting of the trap, he told me it met the statutory 150 Metres.

  91. stuart

    I don’t know what the statutory margins are, and they may vary for different circumstances. However, as any policeman will tell you, you are expected to be doing 30mph by the time you pass the sign, not 10m or 150m afterwards, so you’d be hard-pressed to find sympathy in terms of appealing a penalty.

  92. That being said the GUIDELINE (I stress guideline as they’re not set rules) is that in a 30 limit a speed of 35mph is the minimum speed to be prosecuted. If your speedo said 35 then chances of you actually doing over 32 are very slim as they are very rarely accurate unless it’s a gps speedometer.

  93. stuart

    It’s true that your car’s speedometer usually reads a bit high (as the linked article discusses), but the threshold for prosecution will vary across different police forces.

  94. I received a speeding fine from Spain for 50 euros 8 months after the alleged incident for driving 117 kilometres on a 100 kilometre road.
    They are asking me to pay by credit card or a bank transfer.
    Am I obliged to pay this after 8 months.

  95. stuart

    Hi Rita. Sorry, I don’t know and the original guest author of this article does not respond to any comments that have been left.

  96. Hi Stuart

    How do you know for sure if you were the driver or not, there is a possibility someone else had used my car on the day in question. Do all camera’s take pictures of the driver when caught speeding?

  97. stuart

    Hi Melissa. The penalty notice is sent to the car’s registered keeper, and it is your responsibility to identify the driver if you were not driving the car at the time.

  98. I got caught doing 58 in a 50 average speed zone on M1 at 10:15pm. I was driving my wife’s car which I am not used to driving in. I do this run two or three times a week and have done since the road works wee installed. Is this worth an appeal on the above grounds?

  99. stuart

    Hi Colin. In short, no. The speed limit does not depend on whether or not you’re driving your wife’s car.

  100. I have received the letter from a camera and sent back the form to confirm I was the driver however no fine has been sent back… What should I do?

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