Devizes crimefighters need new team of eagle eyes

This Is Wiltshire: Noel Woolrych is appealing for CCTV volunteers Noel Woolrych is appealing for CCTV volunteers

The town’s CCTV system needs more volunteers to watch out for criminal behaviour – particularly in the early hours of the morning.

The system was set up seven years ago by Devizes Development Partnership but the number of volunteers has dwindled over the years to three.

Noel Woolrych, part-time manager of the system, said they would like to get back up to having 20 volunteers. The most active times when volunteers are needed are between midnight and 3am.

He said: “What it was set up to do was reduce vandalism and public disorder in the town centre and provide evidence in support of prosecutions. You can get a huge amount of satisfaction out of a criminal being caught and finding out they have been charged, it gives you a hell of a buzz.

“With the help of the CCTV cameras, the police found out where Michael Chudley’s car went following the shooting of solicitor Jim Ward in his office in Devizes and picked him up.”

The system has eight cameras, soon to be nine, and records 24/7. It costs £22,500 a year to run, with Devizes Town Council paying the bulk of the cost while about 20 traders contribute regularly.

Mr Woolrych said since the system was introduced crime and anti-social behaviour in the town centre had gone down.

He said: “There used to be 17 to 20 plate glass windows broken a year, now we are talking of one or two a year. Criminal damage has virtually stopped in the town centre and there’s very little anti-social behaviour.

“Everybody says CCTV is a brilliant idea and the public are overwhelmingly in support of it, but we need some more volunteers to make it better. There is wheelchair access to the control room.”

Volunteers have to be over 18 and will be subject to a criminal record check. Email noel@de vizes.org.uk or call 07768 311584.

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