SECURITY cameras have been installed in Yaxley to clamp down on vandals who are costing the authorities thousands of pounds a year.
SECURITY cameras have been installed in Yaxley to clamp down on vandals who are costing the authorities thousands of pounds a year.Following a successful trial of temporary cameras last year, CCTV equipment has been fitted at three crime and anti-social behaviour hotspots around Yaxley, near Peterborough.
CCTV operators at Huntingdonshire District Council can now keep a 24-hour watch on the front of William De Yaxley Primary School, the entrance to the Broadway shopping area, and the land surrounding Yaxley Parish Council's office in Main Street.
The security measures have come as a particular boost to a parish council, which spent 5,700 on repairing vandalised property during the last financial year.
Vice chairman Martin Rickman said: "Vandalism to council property costs us many thousands of pounds each year, and cameras seem to be the only deterrent."
As well as the council office, Cllr Rickman said the neighbouring amenity centre and cricket pavilion were worst affected by graffiti, smashed windows and criminal damage, with the recreation ground known to be a regular haunt for drug dealers.
He said: "A chunk of our front wall at the amenity centre is missing because some kids pushed it over.
"It's just mindless.
"One day we noticed a tree in the car park was rocking and discovered its trunk had been cut three-quarters of the way through, presumably in the hope it would fall over and hurt someone.
"We know the cameras won't solve the problem altogether, but we hope our annual bill for repairs is going to fall significantly now that they are here."
The 78,000 cost of the cameras has been paid for with 20,000 from the parish council and 38,000 from a Cambridgeshire police community safety fund.
The remaining 20,000 has come from Huntingdonshire District Council, which will also cover the annual running costs and monitor the cameras 24 hours a day.
Their installation follows the success of a trial last year, when temporary cameras borrowed from Cambridgeshire Fire Service for a few weeks helped catch some vandals in the act.
Deputy leader of Huntingdonshire District Council Mike Simpson said he hoped the permanent cameras would help to reduce crime in the village.
He said: "We have worked closely with the police and the parish council to get the cameras installed and everyone is working hard to resolve the problems identified.
"I would like to express my thanks to everyone involved and hope the cameras will help prevent any further problems in Yaxley."