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New calls for CCTV system in Marlborough
Police are supporting renewed moves to get CCTV in Marlborough – although on Monday Mayor Edwina Fogg said the council had to examine closely the arguments for and against having security cameras covering the town centre because not everyone was in favour.
Marlborough is currently the only town on the A4 between London and Bristol that does not have CCTV cameras and some police officers have said this is why it is repeatedly targeted by out of town criminals who know they can commit their crimes unseen.
In the last two weeks crooks who one local businessman described as Eastern European looking have used similar distraction techniques to keep office staff talking while an accomplice steals high value mobile phones.
Jonathan Conning, a director of Henry George estate agents in Kingsbury Street, told the Gazette he chased after a pair of thieves who stole his mobile phone from his desk while he was distracted but they got away in a car.
Coun Marion Hannaford Dobson has been trying to get CCTV in Marlborough for the past 11 years and at Monday’s full council meeting she produced a cutting from the Wiltshire Gazette front page 11 years ago reporting on a shared scheme for Marlborough, Pewsey, Ludgershall, Tidworth and Devizes that would have been financed with a £500,000 government grant – but a control room to monitor its 30 cameras would have cost £80,000 a year to run.
With modern technology, however, Coun Noel Barrett-Morton told the town council on Monday a basic but high-quality camera scheme would cost £20,000 to install and would have minimal running costs with recordings kept by the council. “A scheme employing four cameras in the High Street would give the greatest flexibility and cost no more than £20,000,” he said.
Coun Barrett-Morton said that a scheme in Salisbury had 24 hour CCTV monitoring, and one in Royal Wootton Bassett had a part-time monitored scheme run by volunteers.
Hungerford has a sophisticated scheme monitored by Thames Valley Police that was installed following the Michael Ryan shooting spree in 1989 that left 16 people dead and 15 others with gunshot wounds.
Insp Ron Peach, the Marlborough and Devizes area police commander, told Monday’s meeting: “I am here to support the concept of CCTV in Marlborough,” and he said it would be essential that any scheme should have cameras capable of providing high quality images that could be used in evidence.
Coun Fogg said many aspects had to be considered before cameras came to Marlborough. “There are counter arguments,” she said, adding: “We have to look at this in far more detail.”
It was agreed that a working party of councillors, police and representatives from Marlborough Chamber of Commerce, would look into a workable CCTV system and report back to the council.