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Woodbridge residents demand CCTV

PUBLISHED: 15:06 19 October 2001 | UPDATED: 10:41 03 March 2010

MORE than 300 people have signed a petition demanding urgent new security measures including the installation of closed circuit television cameras to protect their safety.

MORE than 300 people have signed a petition demanding urgent new security measures including the installation of closed circuit television cameras to protect their safety.

The majority of people living in the centre of Woodbridge and the shopkeepers have signed a second petition asking the town council and Woodbridge Police to bring in cameras to stem a rising crime wave.

The first petition attracted the names of more than 80 businesses who were angry over the amount of petty vandalism and criminal damage, particularly at night in the town.

The campaign has gathered momentum ahead of an important meeting on Tuesday October 23 when crime issues will be discussed at 7pm at the Shire Hall in a public meeting. Woodbridge Police sector commander Trevor Brundle and community beat officer Robin Pivett will outline the crime ''hot spots'', discuss recent crime trends and argue the case for cameras.

Former Beirut hostage John McCarthy is one of the 320 campaigners. He had a front window smashed at his home in New Street in July when he was away.

Neighbour Michael Penn had the room boarded up and then Mr Penn launched a petition, signed by Mr McCarthy, and circulated letters to residents.

Mr Penn, a part-time employee at Budgens store, said residents were fed up at the escalating amount of crime, and many elderly people were afraid to sit in their front room at night in case objects were thrown through their window.

Mr Penn said a three-point action plan would cut crime. He wants security cameras, more police officers on the beat, and the enforcement of by-laws punishing people urinating in the road.

Mr Penn said: ''There has been an increase in general misbehaviour, loutish attitudes and the speed of traffic going through New Street with youngsters leaving car doors wide open with radios blaring. Cameras would certainly help in lowering the rate of crime if they were put in strategic points around the town.

''The town has not looked so good in the past five years because there are less hanging baskets as people are afraid they would be vandalised.''

He said he had to call 999 one evening after he was chased by drunken youths whom he had told off for their anti-social behaviour.

''People say I should calm down about what is happening, but I feel so strongly about this. Publicans get a lot of the blame but it is not their fault, they can not stop the yobs behaving the way they do outside their establishment,'' said Mr Penn.

Judith Vellagalea, who runs Ye Olde Bell and Steelyard in New Street with her husband Leno, said the issue of bringing in cameras raised strong feelings among some people and all opinions had to be taken into account.

She wants more officers on the beat, and traffic calming to be positioned in New Street to improve safety for pedestrians.

A recent survey in New Street showed that in a 30-hour period 44 vehicles out of 3,508 exceeded 30mph but only two reached a speed at which police would prosecute. The town council wants it to be part of a 20mph zone.

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