Villagers say ‘turn Welwyn Hatfield’s streetlights back on’

PUBLISHED: 14:10 17 September 2011

L-R Duncan Lewis, Amy Lewis 8 with petition

L-R Duncan Lewis, Amy Lewis 8 with petition

Archant

A SPATE of late-night raids has forced villagers to start a petition to get Welwyn Hatfield’s streetlights switched back on after midnight.

Since July, 19 vehicles in Welham Green have been targeted.

One of the victims, Duncan Lewis, said most of the attacks have happened since Hertfordshire County Council introduced the midnight to 6am blackout in a bid to save £10m and to cut the county’s carbon footprint.

He has now set up the petition.

Mr Lewis, who had around £600 worth of items stolen from his car including his children’s twin DVD player, a child’s purse, plus other sentimental items, said the community needs to “come together”.

He added: “Everyone feels unsafe in the village.

“I have been told by front-line police that the crime rate has increased since the switch-off.

“We live a nice place, but it’s going downhill; it’s like a warzone out there and I’m just trying to make everyone aware of what’s going on after-hours.

“If the lights are not turned back on it’s going to be anarchy; it’s just common sense. I’m not going to sit back and let it happen.”

Another villager, David Shearer, added: “I knew from the start of the lights being switched off that this would happen [thefts].

“My neighbour had his car broken into and that is now the third one in our street alone, and that’s just the ones I know of, no doubt there are more.

“What’s the point having it is so dark that these little scumbags can see the police patrol cars coming a mile away and just hide until they have passed them by?”

A police spokeswoman said they are not linking the switch-off with the spate and are working with residents to help with protection.

“We are not able to link the recent spate of thefts from vehicles in Welham Green to the county council scheme to turn off some of the streetlights.

“In the vast majority of these offences vehicles have been left unlocked and items on display.”

A county council spokesman said they are having to make “very difficult decisions” in order to make “significant savings”, adding they appreciated concerns.

The spokesman, who asked people to send any concerns to hertsdirect@hertscc.gov.uk, added: “We cannot consider complaints relating to the overall decision to implement this project.”

So far there has been 300 signatures on the petition, which can be found in Welham Green shops – Michael’s Butchers, Bryan’s hardware and the post office, as well as the newsagents at Brookmans Park.

For an online version contact duncanl101@ntlworld.com


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