BUNGLING youngsters were caught on film in a botched bid to set fire to a speed camera in Huddersfield.
The failed arsonists' almost comic attempts - including a classic moment when one of the boys' tracksuit bottoms fell down baring his backside - were caught by a second spy camera filming the actual speed camera on Wakefield Road in Clayton West.
This is the first time such an attack has been filmed by a spy camera in West Yorkshire.
The youths had no idea they were being filmed and made such a mess of it they may have even ended up being filmed by the speed camera they were trying to destroy as well.
On top of that, they left other vital clues behind at the scene after the attack in the early hours of Sunday, October 27.
The youngsters do not look old enough to drive, yet arrived at the scene in a car.
The spy cameras are tiny, don't look like cameras and are hidden well out of reach.
The arsonists put a tyre on top of the speed camera - but at one point knocked it off and it could be seen rolling away.
They chased it, brought it back and put it back on the camera.
Only then did it dawn on them they were not tall enough to light it and they tried desperately to get a fire started inside the tyre.
The ringleader set fire to some material, but it flared up and he dropped it down his front, almost setting himself on fire.
As he bent down to pick it, his tracksuit bottoms fell down and he 'mooned' at the camera.
West Yorkshire Casualty Reduction Partnership spokesman Philip Gwynne said: "At one point, when the taller youth is attempting and failing to set fire to the tyre, one of the kids puts his head in his hands - maybe out of tiredness or maybe out of despair- at such an inept venture."
Police say the other two youths look less involved.
Chief Insp Christopher Moorhouse-Everett from the Criminal Justice Section of West Yorkshire Police said: "Maybe they were conned or coerced by the older youth. If that is the case and if they come forward they'll be treated more leniently.
"Better for them to come forward now than for the police to come banging on their front door in the middle of the night, waking up their parents and the neighbours and taking them down the station under arrest."
He added: "Watching these three lads in action is like watching a comedy turn - they are clearly incompetent.
"But this is a serious act of criminal damage.
Mr Gwynne added: "The cameras have night vision capability, as the released footage shows, which enables them to be on guard 24 hours a day. They are linked directly to a monitoring station.
"The surveillance kit is easily moved and installed between safety camera sites so anyone attempting to interfere with one of West Yorkshire's roadside cameras is likely to be caught on camera themselves and put before the courts.
"The three youths involved gave away important clues about their identity as they went about their criminal business, oblivious to the fact that their every move was being recorded on a hidden spy camera just a few feet away."
He said the yellow camera housing is flameproof, but the housing has been damaged and will cost about £10,000 to replace.
But both the camera and other equipment was undamaged, which meant it worked throughout the attack.
The ringleader wore a dark red hooded jacket with a broad white section up the arms and across his shoulders and upper back.
Anyone who knows who they are should contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.