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Posted on: Thursday, 03/01/2013
CCTV decision will be disaster for Cumbria traders

The man who oversees a crime busting alliance of shops in Cumbria believes turning off CCTV cameras in Carlisle would be a “disaster” for local retailers.

Smaller city centre shops which do not employ their own security staff will be left particularly at risk, says Ray Howie, a regional official with the city’s branch of Retailers Against Crime.

He spoke out after a retired detective labelled the decision to stop monitoring CCTV from this year and to switch off 48 of the cameras from next year as “disgusting.”

Jeff Ashton, a former chief inspector in the county, said that Carlisle’s CCTV cameras had played a crucial role in catching several dangerous criminals in recent years.

Now his comments have been backed by Mr Howie.

His organisation is part of an alliance of retailers who run Shopwatch schemes, sharing information about known shoplifters – including photos captured from CCTV.

“These cameras are a massively important tool when it comes to fighting retail crime,” said Mr Howie.

“The bigger shops which have their own security staff probably won’t be affected quite so badly, but the smaller shops in Carlisle rely on CCTV.

“A lot of the people in these shops are totally gutted that this could happen.

“If we go down this route, it will be a backwards step.

“The Shopwatch scheme also relies on images from these cameras to warn retailers about known criminals who may be in the city.”

Leanne Milner, a supervisor at Topshop and Topman in English Street, said: “I think turning off the cameras would be absolutely ridiculous.

“People who go shoplifting are obviously going to cotton on to it at some point and it could lead to a massive change in the city centre.

“It will leave us hardly anything, especially the smaller stores which don’t employ their own security staff. We rely on the CCTV.”

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