New camera given cautious welcome

A MOVE to install a new CCTV camera at the corner of Newry Street and Rathfriland Street has been given a cautious welcome by local businesses.

A planning application has been submitted to the Department of the Environment, and representations can be made until tomorrow (Wednesday).

The camera will rotate 360 degrees and aims to cover the town centre, including Rathfriland Street, Scarva Street, Newry Street and Bridge Street.

But the all-in-one camera may not do the town justice, according to one businessman whose butchers has been targeted by criminals four times at a cost of thousands.

Evan Henning has been based in Newry Street for the past 26 years and said no-one has ever been brought to book for smashing in his front window.

Last December it cost the Banbridge businessman £700 to replace the shop’s main window, after vandals used either sling shots or pellet guns to smash the glass on a number of shops.

Police confirmed at the time that one of the nearby CCTV cameras was broken, but said work was ongoing to fix it.

Mr Henning said the current economic climate does not lend itself to such hefty costs.

“It’s a cost businesses certainly do not need at a time like this,” Mr Henning told the Leader.

“I am happy they are going to install a camera - but I’m not sure one can cover the whole area.”

Mr Henning said he was wary that a camera which had to have its direction changed from a monitoring station in Brownlow was unlikely to capture images of every incident.

“I’m not sure about a camera covering North, South, East and West,” he said. “From experience the cameras have never caught anybody smashing my window.

“It could be the case that the camera happens to be turned the wrong direction at the wrong time,” he said.

“I think if they would spend the money on at least two static cameras covering the main streets of Bridge Street and Newry Street it would work better.

“I pay almost £9,000 in rates and to be honest I don’t think I see much for that.”

Nearby clothes shop Robin Fields said he welcomes anything that ups the security in the town.

“The more surveillance we have the better - you just don’t know what goes on in the town after we close up at night,” he said.