BUSINESSES are being being advised to install their own private CCTV cameras in the wake of two armed robberies in Westhoughton.
After the Betfred and Co-op stores were targeted on January 4 and 6, it emerged four of the town council’s seven CCTV cameras on the street were not working.
Two of them had not been operational for at least a month with “high winds” and the festive season cited as reasons for the cameras having not been fixed earlier.
Cllr David Chadwick, for Westhoughton South, has now ordered a review meeting with the police and Emerson, the company charged with monitoring the town’s CCTV footage.
Angry residents at the Westhoughton with Chew Moor Area Forum questioned why the faults with the cameras had not been repaired sooner.
Police stressed that crime levels in the town are “relatively low” despite two Market Street businesses being raided recently.
Insp Chris Evans said: “People ask whether they are any more vulnerable in Westhoughton than elsewhere in Bolton and the answer is ‘sometimes yes, sometimes no’.
“Just because there have been robberies here does not mean it is local people necessarily as we are very close to the motorway network, and connected to Salford and Wigan.”
Andy Hurst, a Bolton Council officer who works with the police, added: “I would stress to all businesses to get your own CCTV and make that investment.
“Police Community Support Officers regularly patrol the area and would be more than happy to give advice to shops.”
One resident requested that Emerson be held to account over the malfunctioning Market Street cameras for not telling the town council about the problems earlier.
Town council leader Cllr David Chadwick said: “The cameras in Westhoughton have been funded by town council since the late 1990s.
“Two of the cameras were to be repaired just before Christmas but because of the high winds, the cherry picker could not be used because of safety concerns.
“I don’t think it is right for such blame to be laid at the town council’s door as the Co-op has 12 private cameras and the Betfred has three.
“These will surely have captured images of the perpetrators.
“I am organising a review into the process with the police and Emerson so we are sure there are no problems with town council policies.”