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Businesses unite in CCTV call

PUBLISHED: 13:17 10 July 2001 | UPDATED: 10:18 03 March 2010

ALMOST all the shopkeepers in the centre of Woodbridge have signed a petition demanding the installation of closed circuit television cameras to cut the crime rate.

ALMOST all the shopkeepers in the centre of Woodbridge have signed a petition demanding the installation of closed circuit television cameras to cut the crime rate.

More than 80 businesses added their names within a week of the petition being launched by Barretts furnishing shop in the Thoroughfare.

They are angry about the amount of petty vandalism and criminal damage taking place in the evening and late at night throughout the town centre. Now they have voiced their concerns to the town, district and county councils and Suffolk Police.

But supporters of CCTV will have to wait until funding is available from the Home Office unless they can find an alternative source of finance.

A recent Home Office scheme to pay for CCTV attracted more than 800 bids costing £250 million, of which just over 300 applicants were invited to submit final proposals.

Suffolk Coastal District Council had hoped to receive funding for schemes in Woodbridge, Felixstowe and Leiston but the application was refused.

Recent incidents in Woodbridge include widespread damage at the town's football club at Notcutts Park with a fire in the stand, a smashed perimeter wall and the destruction of the advertising hoards.

In the town centre there were more than 70 offences in a three-year period inside Elmhurst Park, and at Barretts the staff are constantly finding damage to their property.

Louis Dawson, bed department manager, has twice had his car vandalised and he wrote a letter accompanying the petition in which he described the ''deep concern and even fear'' that shopkeepers in Woodbridge have about the escalating amount of vandalism.

He said that businesses wait for the clock to tick down until it is their turn for mindless vandalism to be inflicted on their own property and they want an immediate and effective solution to their problems.

The petition was signed by 82 shops and offices in the Thoroughfare, Turban Centre, Market Hill and Church Street, and the letter said that one third of all crimes in Woodbridge are vandalism with the majority of those taking place in the town centre.

A Barretts spokesman said today(tues): ''I am not surprised at the response to the petition. People are getting frustrated when they see nothing is being done. We are being told it is too expensive to have CCTV but we are not being offered an alternative solution and that tends to make people more angry.''

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