Bury St Edmunds: �30k CCTV for hospital hit by crime

SECURITY has been heightened at a Suffolk hospital which has been targeted by thieves more than 70 times in just less than two years.

West Suffolk Hospital NHS Trust has spent �30,000 on 27 CCTV cameras in the grounds and car parks of the Bury St Edmunds hospital.

Information provided by Suffolk Police showed there had been 77 reported thefts at a variety of locations at the hospital, including A&E, wards and the car park, last year and this year up to this month.

In May the East Anglian Daily Times broke the story that police were hunting a thief who had stolen a wedding ring from a stroke victim as she lay dying in her hospital bed.

Other thefts at the hospital have included cash from pay and display machines, laughing gas, a van, and even a stretcher.

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Previously there was one CCTV camera outside, and there are already 32 CCTV cameras inside the hospital building.

A hospital spokeswoman said: “The CCTV cameras have been installed in line with good practice and are part of our commitment to ensuring the safety of our staff, patients and visitors.

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“As well as offering extra reassurance to everyone using the site, we hope that they will also act as a deterrent against crime such as thefts.”

If incidents do occur the cameras will make providing evidence for prosecution easier.

The site’s police community support officer Liz Lake has also had her post extended for another two years as another security measure.

Jim Pretty, security manager at the hospital, said she had made a fantastic contribution to security on site, offering reassurance and providing a high visibility police presence while also giving essential crime prevention advice.

As part of her role, which is part funded by the hospital and Suffolk Police, PCSO Lake regularly patrols the hospital site in Hardwick Lane and helps to locate missing patients and regularly reviews security around the site.

The investment in security comes as the hospital urges party-goers to treat hospital staff with respect this Christmas.

Under the trust’s zero-tolerance policy action will be taken against anyone who abuses or assaults members of staff.

Jan Bloomfield, executive director of workforce and communications, said: “Every year, we appeal to those using the hospital over Christmas to treat our staff with the respect and gratitude that they deserve.

“The festive period is one of the busiest of the year, especially for our dedicated A&E staff. However, they can find themselves subjected to abuse, and sometimes even violence, from the very people they are trying to help.”

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