It has been the talk of Helston since yesterday evening: why have small cameras been spotted all over town and just what are they recording?

They have been seen in The Furry, Meneage Street and Clodgey Lane, as well as on the Porthleven Road. 

While various theories have been suggested on social media, including average speed monitoring and CCTV, the Packet has made some official enquiries and can now reveal the answer.

They are in fact automatic numberplate recognition cameras, which are carrying out a survey over the amount of traffic that travels various Helston roads.

It is also looking at the impact of current traffic on the town's junctions and how any potential change to traffic flow could have a knock-on effect.

It represents the first step in considering a possible project put forward by Helston Community Interest Company, to make traffic in Coinagehall Street one-way.

It is one of the earliest ideas to have been raised by the CIC when they first met with the public in November last year.

At two drop-in sessions at the Central Methodist Church, a computer generated image was on display of how members imagine Coinagehall Street could look – subject to public backing and funding being found.

It showed the street having one-way traffic, allowing tables and chairs to be brought out onto the street and herringbone parking to be created down one side.

Read more: One way streets and more parking raised at first Helston CIC event

It was acknowledged at the time that this was a long-term project that would need further consultation - and this is the initial step towards getting the information needed to look at it in more detail.

A spokesperson for Cornwall Council's data team said: "They are traffic survey cameras. All they're doing is looking at use ahead of a possible project. They are monitoring the road network."

She added that the cameras, which went up yesterday afternoon, would be coming down later today.

Another Cornwall Council spokesperson said: "The cameras have been installed to monitor traffic patterns as part of a project that has been developed working closely with the Helston Community Interest Company and Cornwall Council members.

"The data is being collected to understand traffic movement within the town, which in turn will assist local groups with future decision making regarding a number of key locally led priorities which are currently being developed.

"The cameras are not used for enforcement purposes and data collected will comply with GDPR regulations. 

"The survey will run for one day."