Repeated traffic light breakdowns that have caused chaos for drivers trying to get through the work on Oxford Road are the result of sabotage, the council has revealed.

Motorists have complained on and off for months about the temporary lights not working.

Coun Russell Holland said rather than being a technical malfunction it was the consequence of someone tampering with the controls.

The borough council has condemned the saboteurs and the police have been called in to investigate the attacks.

The lights stopped have working on several occasions over the last few months, including September 13, 23, 30 and August 21 and 28 prompting complaints from drivers and people living in the area who were worried about safety.

A spokesman said: "There have been a number of instances where the temporary traffic lights on the Oxford Road/ Nythe Road junction have been tampered with, despite measures in place to secure the traffic light control box.

“The temporary traffic signals are in place to ensure traffic can continue to flow through the junction safely while work is undertaken in the area.

“Tampering with traffic lights is not only a criminal offence but it is also an extremely dangerous thing to do and could result in an accident.”

Extra security measures have been taken to try to prevent further attacks on the lights.

A Wiltshire Police spokesman said: “We’ve received a number of reports concerning the temporary traffics lights on Oxford Road being disconnected and this is currently being investigated by our officers.

“Obviously, this could create a dangerous situation on a very busy road which leads into the town so we’d ask anyone who has any information to either get in touch with us online or by calling 101.”