Shock statistics have shown that one year after the street lights were switched off in North Warwickshire, burglary has risen by 18%. In neighbouring Nuneaton and Bedworth, the figure is even higher at 38%. This has prompted calls by Labour’s Mike O’Brien, a former Home Office Minister, for the Conservative controlled County Council to switch the street lights back on.
Mr O’Brien, who has led the campaign to get the street light switched back on, said, “The decision to plunge us into the dark saved little money and has done great damage. I warned that it would increase the fear of crime. After one year it is clear people have had increased burglaries. This cannot go on.
“We know that the Warwickshire Coroner has called on the County Council at Warwick to review the street light switch off after Archie Wellbelove an 18 year old student at Warwick University was killed after a late night party by a taxi driver who didn’t see him walking down a road near Leamington.
“Other councils who have tried this have seen similar tragedies. A soldier on leave was killed in North Somerset walking home after a late night party and in Milton Keynes the lights are put back on after accidents increased.
“Shift workers in the NHS and other services have complained that in winter they have to go to work in the pitch dark.
“At 4.30 in the morning the early shift at Atherstone ‘Sandwich Factory’ have to negotiate heavy lorries going into their depot through gates they use in the dark.
“Seven cars were burnt out under cover of darkness in the village of Keresley in this constituency. Even Conservative County Councillors must realise that this is a failed experiment. It’s time to switch the lights back on.”