Fears over street lights switch-off in Clacton's crime hotspots

Gazette: Mike Vaughan-Chatfield Mike Vaughan-Chatfield

FEARS have been raised crime will increase in parts of Clacton when County Hall bosses pull the plug on street lights this weekend.

Tendring will join other parts of the county when street lamps are turned off between midnight and 5am in a bid to save energy and cash.

Neighbourhood Watch campaigners fear violent crime such as muggings will go up.

Lights will go out outside Bootleggers, in Wellesley Road, Clacton, where Liam Mearns was stabbed to death in 2011.

Street lights will also go out in residential areas on Clacton’s Percy King estate, despite a number of violent incidents in recent years, including stabbings in the Langham Drive area and the murder of Oliver Smith-Daye in Trimley Close in the early hours on New Year’s Day in 2012.

Residents also claim they have been targeted by a gang of youths on the estate.

Mike Vaughan-Chatfield, chairman of Tendring’s Neighbourhood Watch, said: “When we did our submission for the consultation we asked for lights in sensitive areas where there was a risk of crime and where people might not feel safe to remain on.

“We suggested they use the police crime map as a basis for that, but the county council appear to have ignored that.

“I’m concerned about parts of Jaywick that will not be lit – lighting would have helped to prevent any trouble.

“The trial was in Uttlesford which is a soft area in terms of crime and not representative.

They should have chosen somewhere like Basildon, which, like Clacton, has its own issues and serious problems. There’s the possibility it could raise crime in Clacton and will certainly make people feel less safe.”

In Jaywick’s Brooklands area only two lights will remain on overnight at the junction of Lotus Way and Tamarisk Way.

Lights will remain on at the underpass between Dunthorpe Road and Brook Retail Park, where twowomen were robbed of a handbag at knifepoint in July.

Chief Insp Cat Barrie, Tendring’s divisional commander, said: “We will be monitoring it closely and will continue to work together with the county council.”

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