Hatfield is ‘no top crime hotspot’
HATFIELD has been ranked alongside inner city London, Manchester and Merseyside as one of the top seven crime hotspots in the country.
But this week residents have hit back, blasting the claim as “a ridiculous misrepresentation of our town”.
Saturday’s Daily Mirror suggested Hatfield was a hotspot for “suspicious activity reports” – by banks and financial institutions briefed to alert police to possible money laundering.
It added police have “300 organised crime suspects on their radar, including some East End villains who have moved out to the countryside on their ill-gotten gains”.
But Hatfield resident Mark Lampert told the Welwyn Hatfield Times the claims were ridiculous.
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The 44-year-old of Bishops Rise fumed: “I certainly have never come across any serious roaming gangs with machine guns and so on in Hatfield.
“We have our problems but are we a top seven crime hotspot in this country? Definitely not.
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“This nonsense story is an insult to Hatfield residents.
“All people around here are trying to do is go about our daily business.”
He added: “I don’t live in fear. It’s not like The Sopranos!”
Bemused Hatfield resident Debbie Thompson agreed.
She said: “I find it almost hilarious that we are in the same kind of league as Merseyside and Manchester.
“Nottingham and even Luton haven’t been named and I think there are far more gangsters there.
“It is a false representation of the town.”
Welwyn Hatfield Labour leader Kieran Thorpe said: “I’ve lived in Hatfield my whole life and it certainly does not have a crime problem that warrants mention in a national newspaper, it isn’t a hotspot.
“We must remain vigilant in the fight against organised crime, but this sort of misrepresentation is dangerous.
“I am sure the people of Hatfield know this story is utterly ridiculous.”
Detective superintendent Jane Swinburne said: “We believe the 300 organised crime suspects the Daily Mirror refer to are for Hertfordshire, not Hatfield.
“Hatfield does not have a significant threat from organised criminals – in fact the figure is only about 3 per cent.
“We have never produced this information publicly and unfortunately the reporter did not contact the police to check the information he received from an ‘undisclosed’ source.”
But Mirror crime correspondent Jon Clements, who wrote the story, told the Welwyn Hatfield Times he stood by his report.
He said: “Regarding the information about suspicious activity reports there is no doubt that Hatfield is a hotspot.
“It is definitely true.”