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Upgraded CCTV will help stop vandalism at the rec

AFTER years of vandalism by youngsters on Bollington's recreation ground, neighbours living in fear have now been dealt a further blow.

AFTER years of vandalism by youngsters on Bollington's recreation ground, neighbours living in fear have now been dealt a further blow.

It has been revealed that CCTV cameras monitoring the site are so ineffective that they need to be replaced with a new system.

The cameras produce pictures that are so shadowy it is impossible to see any of the culprits clearly and there is no regular rota for viewing the tapes.

The concerns were raised at a public meeting in the town hall at the end of October and Coun Sylvia Roberts wrote a report to Bollington Town Council because she was unable to attend last week's meeting.

She said: "The CCTV appears to have proved an initial deterrent, but since it is understood that the equipment has been shown to some of the youths who regularly hang about that pavilion, that first advantage has been lost.

"As it is, the cameras are poor quality and the tapes which they provide are so shadowy that they could not be used in any police investigation.

"When the supplier came out to the recreation ground in June he identified an immediate problem.

"The stone wall which shields a corner of the pavilion from view needs to be removed to allow the best possible visibility for the cameras, and to remove an area which could help shield vandalism."

The meeting heard that about £5,000 has been promised to upgrade the cameras, but despite being ordered over four weeks ago, they are likely to take a further four weeks to be delivered, with the town council making up a deficit in funding.

Coun Roberts said that the tapes are scanned only if a local resident contacts a ranger following an incident.

She added: "Recently youths have inflicted damage on the grassed areas of the football and cricket pitches and the bowling green by riding Vespas and moped type motorised bikes round and round, several deep ruts are clearly visible.

"If we were able to tackle one of these youths our case would be gravely harmed by the fact that the signs indicating that no bikes are permitted is so old and defaced that it is illegible.

"In fact there is a valid suggestion that the current signs are actually illegal. A verbal promise was made that new signs will be installed.

"These are our ratepayers who have to suffer almost nightly the noise and verbal abuse which is visited upon them simply because of the situation of their homes."

Town Mayor, Coun John Kershaw, said: "This last week I've spent near as dammit every night on the recreation ground and I was frightened to death when I was confronted by 25 odd looking youths on their machines known as scooters."

Sovereign Security Services, the private firm employed by the borough council, started a regular regime of Bollington visits last week.

Sergeant Paul Bestwick, from Macclesfield Police, told the meeting on October 28 that neighbourhood wardens employed by the borough council and Community Support Officers could provide answers to the problems because they tend to be locally based and can get to know the neighbourhood's regular troublemakers.

And he told the Express this week that he has had regular discussions with town councillors about ways to tackle the problems.

"Community Support Officers are an additional resource to work alongside the Community Action Teams to address quality of life issues that people feel are important.

"They look at trying to solve problems long term rather than short term, but obviously they can't solve the problems overnight.

"People think they are a cheap way to replace police officers, but they are not.

"The Community Action Team is aware of the problems down there and is looking at trying to find solutions."

When asked about the possibility of having a full time permanent police presence in Bollington, Sgt Bestwick said that the decision was in the hands of more senior officers.

He appealed for residents to contact the police on 01625 610000 as soon as they become aware of any anti-social behaviour in the area.

 

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