Faulty street lights 'hinder CCTV'

TRADERS in a market town have spoken of their concern that faulty street lighting is hindering the town's closed circuit television cameras.Fay Johns, of The Coffee House in Stowmarket town centre, suffered more than £1,000 of damage when bricks were hurled at her glass frontage.

TRADERS in a market town have spoken of their concern that faulty street lighting is hindering the town's closed circuit television cameras.

Fay Johns, of The Coffee House in Stowmarket town centre, suffered more than £1,000 of damage when bricks were hurled at her glass frontage.

But despite the area being covered by a £400,000 camera system, she said police told her poor lighting in the area makes it difficult to identify any offenders on camera.

Mrs Johns said: "I was told the cameras can't identify anyone when the street lights aren't working.


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"But what's the point of having them if the street lighting isn't maintained. It's a vicious circle as far as I'm concerned because no one seems to take responsibility for maintaining them."

Now she is being forced to pay the bill herself, as the insurance excess on her policy narrowly exceeds the cost of replacing the window.

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She said: "We're not a big company. The big ones could swallow it up but for us it's a lot of money. It does make a hole in the pocket, but what can you do?"

The incident is believed to have happened between 9pm and 9.30pm on March 31, although the streetlight at the heart of the problem was only fixed on Friday, nearly two weeks later.

Traders in the town's Bury Street are experiencing similar problems.

Gertie Mobsby, owner of Stowmarket Bookshop, claims a streetlight above her business has not been working for three years, despite repeated pleas to the county's highways department to get it repaired.

She said: "This has been going on for a very long time and I'm rather cheesed off about it. The cameras have been put in for the safety of the general public and they would work far more effectively if the street lighting was better."

In a bid to address the issue, Stowmarket town councillors are surveying the town to compile a list of all lights that need attention.

Marilyn Finbow, a town councillor and Bury Street trader, said: "The town council has been pushing to get these lights fixed for well over a year.

"The town council manages the system but we can't manage it properly if our partners don't work with us to make sure the street lighting is of the standard needed for the cameras to operate properly."

A spokeswoman for Suffolk County Council acknowledged the problems with street lighting in the area and apologised for any inconvenience it is causing.

She said: "We're experiencing some underground mains problem at the moment which are being looked at by the county council and the supplier. As far as we're aware, the problem has only been with two of the streetlights and we're making sure they'll be in use in the near future.''

Mike Nunn, Suffolk Constabulary spokesman, added: "I can't comment on this particular offence at the Coffee House, but CCTV will work better at night if the streets are well lit.''

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