A TRADE union has called on Essex County Council to reverse its decision to turn off street-lights.

The authority decided last year to switch off seven out of ten lights in Colchester between 12am and 5am in a bid to save £132,000 a year.

GMB launched a campaign at the beginning of the month urging a re-think and it is pleased with the response.

Michelle Bacon, GMB regional officer, said: “GMB is pleased that so far we received an overwhelming response to the campaign.

“We accept that some villages do not want street lighting during the hours of darkness, however, in larger towns this is of extreme concern.

“There is a duty of care under the Crime and Disorder Act for local councils to address such activity in conjunction with partners - it is not the sole responsibility of the police.

“We are not convinced that switching off the lights tackles the fear of crime which councils are obliged to do.

“It allows opportunists to prey on our elderly and most vulnerable.”

Mrs Bacon also urged Essex County Council to follow the lead set out by Kent County Council, which has promised to review its street light switch-off.