Switch-off is blamed for car theft rise

IPSWICH: A concerned town resident today told of his dismay and fears following a spate of car crime.

Police have appealed for witnesses to come forward after they were alerted to a series of incidents which took place in the Chantry area of the town over the weekend.

A resident of the area, who asked not to be named out of fear of reprisal, said that since street lights were turned off there had been an increase in crime in his area.

He said: “I’ve lived here for years and years and we never had these kind of problems before.

“It is quite a recent thing and I am concerned that it is because of the street lights going out.

“It makes me very concerned and it actually makes me scared to go out at night past midnight.

“People are now able to carry out these crimes in darkness, maybe it wouldn’t be happening if the street lights were on.”

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Lights in the town were turned off or dimmed as part of the council’s attempts to cut carbon emissions and save money.

Rex Chittock, 79, of Darwin Road, Ipswich, launched a petition against the plans after members of his community voiced concerns about the scheme.

His petition got thousands of signatures and he recently took his concerns to Suffolk County Council.

Sgt Darren Oxbrow from Ipswich South West Safer Neighbourhood Team, told The Star that the incidents had involved a number of unlocked vehicles.

He said: “We have had a number of motor vehicle break-ins reported to police over the weekend that have occurred on roads around the Hawthorn Drive area, from Partridge Road to Downing Close on the Chantry estate.

“In the majority of these incidents individuals have either left their vehicles unsecure or items on display.

“We are therefore reminding people to ensure they lock their cars and remove any valuable items.”

Councillor Guy McGregor, the county council’s portfolio holder for roads, planning and transport, said: “We are continuing to work with Ipswich Borough Council and the emergency services on how best to implement the new Intelligent Lighting System.

“We haven’t received any requests from the borough council or the police to turn the lights back on in that area, but if we do we’ll act on the requests as we have done elsewhere.”

Anyone with information relating to the crimes is asked to contact Suffolk Constabulary’s South West Safer Neighbourhood Team on 101.

n Have you been a victim of car crime? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN. Alternatively, you can send an e-mail to starletters@archant.co.uk