A CCTV camera that was installed to protect a children’s play area after being plagued by vandals has been hailed a great success.
Crime and anti-social behaviour has seen a dramatic drop at the play area at Bishop Cuthbert after the camera was put in place by Hartlepool Borough Council.
It overlooks the play area adjacent to Crocus Gardens at Bishop Cuthbert and is connected to Hartlepool Borough Council’s CCTV Community Monitoring Centre.
In the summer of 2016 teenage vandals were blamed for extensive damage to the area including the destruction of 10 semi-mature trees, worth about £2,000, and an aluminium roof panel was dislodged from the bandstand.
The council agreed funding for the camera and Hart ward councillors Paul Beck and Jean Robinson jointly gave £750 from their ward budgets for fencing and shrubs around the perimeter of the play area.
Councillor Beck said: “The impact of the camera has been nothing short of astonishing.
“Since it became operational in October last year crime and anti-social behaviour in the area has reduced massively.
“Prior to the camera being installed, the area was plagued by crime and anti-social behaviour, including incidents where whole trees were uprooted and play equipment was damaged beyond repair.
“This wasn’t a pleasant situation for residents and I’m delighted that we have been able to bring about such a positive change.”
Councillor Beck paid tribute to the Bishop Cuthbert Residents Association, in particular former secretary Aileen Kendon who went out into the community and collected over 1,000 signatures on a petition calling for action.
Barry Coppinger, Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner, also praised the work.
He said: “I would like to congratulate all parties – Hartlepool Borough Council, ward councillors and residents – involved in tackling the issues affecting this area.
“It shows that by working together we can all make a difference and improve the quality of life on our estates.”