‘It’s like an advert saying come and burgle us’: Hartlepool allotment holders blast council’s CCTV removal

Allotment holders are angry after council bosses removed CCTV cameras from their site after almost 10 years.

Monday, 3rd June 2019, 06:00 am
Burn Valley Allotment holders are angry over Hartlepool Borough Council removal of CCTV cameras. Front John Hays. Back from left Ronnie Suckling, Davey Dodds, Sydney Smurthwaite and John Hays (jnr).

Plot holders at Burn Valley allotment site in Hartlepool fear crime will spike following the action to remove the three eyes in the sky by Hartlepool Borough Council.

But the council says the cameras were operating illegally and the allotment holders failed to respond to requests for necessary information and actions to take.

Burn Valley allotments.

The council also says it plans to put up several CCTV cameras around the area and one will cover the allotment site.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i politics newsletter we'll give it to you straight

John Hays, of the Burn Valley Allotments and Security Group, said: “Before we got the cameras crime was rife.

“They were burning plots down, pinching greenhouses and drug users sleeping in sheds.

“Since getting them we have had nine good years with just the odd little bit of theft.

“We are only trying to help and better the allotments.”

The cameras had been in place for around a decade after holders secured about £20,000 in grants through the former HVDA (Hartlepool Voluntary Development Agency).

Mr Hays, who has been a plot holder for 38 years, added: “It’s ludicrous. They don’t cost the council a penny.

“It’s like an advert saying ‘come and burgle us’ that’s what the guys have said.”

Ward councillor Ged Hall is supporting the allotment holders and blasted the cameras removal.

Coun Hall said: “Allotment holders in Burn Valley tend their gardens for many years.

“As tenants, they pay rent to Hartlepool council and enjoy the privileges from the landlord.”

He added: “I support any actions to keep the cameras on this site and hopefully iron out any complications.”

A Hartlepool Borough Council spokesperson said: “Mr Hays was informed on multiple occasions – both verbally and in writing – over a lengthy period of time that the cameras were not legally compliant and that if this continued to be the case then they would be removed due to them being on council-owned land.

“He was given a list of information that we required him to provide and actions that needed to be taken to make the cameras legal, but he failed to comply with our requests.

“As a result, the cameras were removed. As a council, we are currently looking to install three new CCTV cameras in the Burn Valley area of the town, one of which will cover the allotments site.”