Garage burglaries make Ely residents feel vulnerable

Burglars move in when street light taken out

Burglars move in when street light taken out - Credit: Archant

Burglars have broken into four garages in a quiet close in Ely where one of the street lights was removed as part of council cut backs.

Residents say they were planned attacks which involved the culprits using equipment to cut off sturdy locks and make off with their haul.

Now it is feared that further planned lighting cuts, starting in April, will mean more crime for other areas of the city.

Aspen Close resident Tracy Pearce said: “There used to be a street lamp in Mulberry Way which shone over the garages but that was taken away in January as part of the upgrading and replacing of lights.

“The area there now is like a black hole.

“All four garages had locks broken with what we believe was a scaffolding bar.

“Our garage had a massive circular lock which we were recommended to use by police for security reasons. That was cut through.

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“Having the lighting reduced makes people feel more vulnerable.”

Burglars ripped off a roll of carpet covering a rotavator worth £500 and slotted out fishing rods worth £300 which they took without setting off the car alarm.

“My neighbours are extremely shaken and are panicking knowing somebody has been creeping about,” she said.

There are further lighting reductions planned, leading to a potential for more crime, she said.

A spokesman for Balfour Beatty said: “In line with the programme of works set out by Cambridgeshire County Council, 10 per cent of street lights are being removed to aid with budget restraints.

“This is the case across Cambridgeshire and Ely.

“I’m looking at where the 10 per cent of street lights will be removed, there is a strict process that is followed.

“This includes reviewing the street and highlighting those street lights not situated on a street bend or junction.

“A survey is then conducted and once the appropriate street lights are identified for removal, the plans are then discussed in consultation with the council.

“There are currently no plans to reinstate street lights on Mulberry Way.”

Tom Blackburne-Maze, head of assets and commissioning, said: “The county council appreciates all feedback received from residents regarding the operation of street lights across the county.

“The council has not presently turned any streetlights off so we have asked our service provider, Balfour Beatty, to investigate the matter raised in Mulberry Way as quickly as possible.”