Plans discussed to switch Melton street lights back on in early hours

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Street lighting could be switched back on in Melton in the early hours of the morning after concerns were raised about an increase in criminal activity after dark.

Selected lights are currently turned off between midnight and 5.30am by Leicestershire County Council to save energy and money, although street lights are kept on between these times at most junctions in the town, in areas covered by CCTV security cameras and on roads where there are traffic-calming measures.

But some residents at last month’s public debate on crime told senior police officers that they felt unsafe when the lighting went off and they feared it made it easier for burglars, thieves and vandals to carry out offences.

There have also been many comments on the town’s neighbourhood watch Facebook page blaming an increase in crime on the ‘blackout’ and urging the council to keep all street lights on throughout the early hours of the morning.

County Hall say there is no evidence to suggest that turning off street lighting leads to more criminal activity but it revealed there were plans to stage a trial scheme in the town where lights are kept on early in the morning.

A county council spokesperson told the Melton Times: “We have worked closely with the police throughout the part-night project and when specific issues are raised we do review them.

“The police support our policy and there is evidence to show that lights that are turned off overnight do not naturally lead to an increase in crime.

“The scheme has been running in Melton for more than seven years and during this time we’ve received a minimal number of complaints.

“However, recently we’ve been made aware of concerns about the lighting being switched off and we’re currently in discussions with the police to see if there is a need to switch lights back on for a trial period.”

A spokesperson for Melton Police said: “We are aware of the discussions about street lighting in Melton and await the outcome of those discussions.”