Police ridiculed over cat bell deterrent

By Ted JeoryA COUNCIL leader has delivered a stinging attack on a police scheme in which pensioners are given cat bells to ward off robbers.Terry Allen, leader of Tendring District Council, said the scheme - being used in Clacton and Frinton - was “a complete waste of time”.

By Ted Jeory

A COUNCIL leader has ridiculed a police scheme in which pensioners are given cat bells to ward off robbers.

Terry Allen, leader of Tendring District Council, said the scheme - being used in Clacton and Frinton - was “a complete waste of time”.

He added: “Do the police really think people will this idea seriously? I think the pensioners round here would just laugh at it - it insults their intelligence.


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“I don't know of a single person who has been using one. I've not heard any bells on the seafront.”

Mr Allen, who is also a Frinton town councillor, continued: “What they should be doing is putting these bells around the neck of every known toe-rag, burglar and mugger so we know when they're coming.”

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The scheme was originally dreamed up in the West Midlands and involves pensioners attaching the bells, which are normally put on cat collars to warn birds, to their purses and wallets so they know when they are falling victim to a criminal.

Essex Police have been handing out cat bells to elderly residents in Clacton and Frinton as a deterrent against thieves - and claimed the initiative had been responsible for a halving in the number of pickpocket crimes in the area.

More than 150 bells - which are free to over-60s, but cost 50p to everyone else - have been handed out since the scheme launched in November and it is now being extended to the Braintree area.

Elaine Seymour, communications officer for Essex Police's Tendring division, said: “The idea is simple and effective.

“The bells alert people to a theft, but we urge people not to fight back, but just to shout out if they realise their purse has been taken.

“In December and January, the number of thefts from a person fell by 50% and we'd like to think the bells were responsible for that.”

ted.jeory@eadt.co.uk

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