‘We’re not safe after street light switch off’

12-119      Un-lit break in at Evelyn Sharp House , Hemel Hempstead.'Keith Carrington with the door which was forced.
12-119 Un-lit break in at Evelyn Sharp House , Hemel Hempstead.'Keith Carrington with the door which was forced.

A PENSIONER is calling for street lights around his sheltered housing complex to be turned back on overnight after thieves broke in under the cover of darkness.

Evelyn Sharp House in Field Road, Hemel Hempstead, was targeted within days of street lighting around the Dacorum Borough Council-run property being switched to part-time lighting.

It means the lamps are turned off between midnight and 6am under controversial cost-cutting measures by Herts County Council.

Keith Carrington, who has lived there with his wife for seven years, said: “The street lights have been switched off around the whole of the scheme, and you guessed it, instantly the vermin on the streets at night have been emboldened to use the darker street to break into the complex.”

The trio struck at around 1am on Friday but were disturbed during their rampage by a carer. They claimed to be visiting their poorly nan but fled when the woman asked further questions.

Mr Carrington, 67, said: “They had free range to walk the corridors of this complex to possibly rob and injure the vulnerable people who are supposed to be under the care of the local council.”

Before being spotted in the building, the crooks smashed their way into the main office. “Possibly they were looking for money or drugs to feed their addled brains,” said Mr Carrington.

“We need those lights on. We feel rather concerned that people are going to come in again. It is a bit worrying.”

Herts County Council advises people to contact their local officer if they are concerned about crime following a switch to part-time lighting.

The information can then be submitted to Herts chiefs for consideration.

However, Herts Constabulary has stressed that since the start of the county council’s big switch off there has been ‘no perceptible increase in incidents or any change in crime patterns that might relate to street lights being switched off’.

A spokesman for Dacorum Borough Council said all files within the office at Evelyn Sharp House have been checked and there is nothing missing.